Roger Goodell’s National Anthem Gambit

It is now being reported that the NFL will be playing “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” a song that has been called the “Black national anthem,” before all NFL games in Week 1.

This is a high-risk, low-reward move by the NFL.  There are countless problems with this strategy to appease the woke mobs, and it would be difficult to overstate just how foolish and dangerous it is. 

First of all, a “Black national anthem” can only exist if there is a broad acceptance of the notion that black people, as a racial category, share a common identity with other sovereign nations.  Additionally, defining a separate “Black national anthem” to be played alongside the America’s National Anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” presupposes that the latter is insufficient to alone represent black Americans as it represents all others. 

These are insane propositions that would, until recently, have been unthinkable at any moment of my life.  This is the same National Anthem was played in 1936 Olympic Games when Jesse Owens proudly accepted gold medals on behalf of his countrymen, of all races, in Berlin.  His broad smiles and the American flag that fluttered over him vexed his Nazi hosts who insisted that race was fundamental to one’s national identity.  America, you see, represents something much nobler than that.  It represents an immutable truth, rooted in the Judeo-Christian belief that we are all created in God’s image, and one that Martin Luther King, Jr. recognized as our national creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

The NFL’s decision to juxtapose a “Black national anthem” with America’s National Anthem before NFL games suggests that the black racial identity and our American identity are incompatible, if not in direct competition, with one another.  Sadly, what is being presented as effort to effect racial unity will achieve nothing more than inking in the lines of racial identification that some people, particularly among the woke mobs pressuring the NFL, seem to believe are so damned important. 

But there’s a greater risk involved here, as far as the future of the NFL brand goes. 

You see, Roger Goodell and Co., along with an inexplicable number of Americans, have become convinced that the NFL kneeling protests were never really about disrespecting the American Flag or our country.  Drew Brees, for example, experienced backlash when he suggested that kneeling for the Anthem amounted to “disrespecting America,” and, magically, he immediately reversed his position to say that he no longer thinks kneeling for the Anthem is disrespectful after he was criticized.

Perhaps he was persuaded by convincing arguments by the likes of LeBron James, who told him “You literally still don’t understand why Kap was kneeling on one knee??” [sic]

Colin Kaepernick didn’t exactly mince words about why he was kneeling back in 2016, and it certainly wasn’t out of respect to America.  “I’m not going to stand up to show pride for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” he said.

If you happen to be among that gullible gaggle of Americans that believes all the nonsense you’ve been fed about how kneeling is actually a respectful gesture or a sign of veneration (you kneel in church, after all), this one statement should disabuse you of that fantasy.  Kaepernick admits that standing for the Anthem would be a respectful sign that he takes pride in America.  His kneeling signifies the opposite, and nothing about that should be difficult for anyone to understand.

But if that somehow isn’t clear enough for you, there might be more convincing evidence on the way, courtesy of the NFL leadership.  Again, Goodell and Co. have become convinced by the lie that the Anthem protests are about something other than disrespecting America.  But what if prefacing the National Anthem with the “Black national anthem” doesn’t appease the irrational mob calling to abolish or defund police and refusing to show pride in America, as it most likely will not?

What if, in Week 1, all the players stand for the “Black national anthem” out of pride and respect to it, but some players still kneel for America’s National Anthem to signify the opposite of pride and respect for it, as they have since 2016?  What then?

The NFL has many other events planned to appease the woke mobs throughout the season.  But what if those don’t work, either, because this has been about undermining and disrespecting America all along? 

To date, there remains little or no evidence that George Floyd’s death is the result of racism by police officers.  Yet, in the chaotic wake of his death at the hands of police officers, the NFL is doing virtue-signaling somersaults to appease a mob that it has obviously never understood.  In the end, Roger Goodell and the NFL may find that just turning a blind eye to the Anthem kneeling since it began in 2016 would have been far less detrimental to its brand and its future success than theatrically spitting in the faces of its core fan base of patriotic Americans who just want to watch football games on Sundays without watching multimillionaire entertainers lecture them about why their country sucks.

It is now being reported that the NFL will be playing “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” a song that has been called the “Black national anthem,” before all NFL games in Week 1.

This is a high-risk, low-reward move by the NFL.  There are countless problems with this strategy to appease the woke mobs, and it would be difficult to overstate just how foolish and dangerous it is. 

First of all, a “Black national anthem” can only exist if there is a broad acceptance of the notion that black people, as a racial category, share a common identity with other sovereign nations.  Additionally, defining a separate “Black national anthem” to be played alongside the America’s National Anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” presupposes that the latter is insufficient to alone represent black Americans as it represents all others. 

These are insane propositions that would, until recently, have been unthinkable at any moment of my life.  This is the same National Anthem was played in 1936 Olympic Games when Jesse Owens proudly accepted gold medals on behalf of his countrymen, of all races, in Berlin.  His broad smiles and the American flag that fluttered over him vexed his Nazi hosts who insisted that race was fundamental to one’s national identity.  America, you see, represents something much nobler than that.  It represents an immutable truth, rooted in the Judeo-Christian belief that we are all created in God’s image, and one that Martin Luther King, Jr. recognized as our national creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

The NFL’s decision to juxtapose a “Black national anthem” with America’s National Anthem before NFL games suggests that the black racial identity and our American identity are incompatible, if not in direct competition, with one another.  Sadly, what is being presented as effort to effect racial unity will achieve nothing more than inking in the lines of racial identification that some people, particularly among the woke mobs pressuring the NFL, seem to believe are so damned important. 

But there’s a greater risk involved here, as far as the future of the NFL brand goes. 

You see, Roger Goodell and Co., along with an inexplicable number of Americans, have become convinced that the NFL kneeling protests were never really about disrespecting the American Flag or our country.  Drew Brees, for example, experienced backlash when he suggested that kneeling for the Anthem amounted to “disrespecting America,” and, magically, he immediately reversed his position to say that he no longer thinks kneeling for the Anthem is disrespectful after he was criticized.

Perhaps he was persuaded by convincing arguments by the likes of LeBron James, who told him “You literally still don’t understand why Kap was kneeling on one knee??” [sic]

Colin Kaepernick didn’t exactly mince words about why he was kneeling back in 2016, and it certainly wasn’t out of respect to America.  “I’m not going to stand up to show pride for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” he said.

If you happen to be among that gullible gaggle of Americans that believes all the nonsense you’ve been fed about how kneeling is actually a respectful gesture or a sign of veneration (you kneel in church, after all), this one statement should disabuse you of that fantasy.  Kaepernick admits that standing for the Anthem would be a respectful sign that he takes pride in America.  His kneeling signifies the opposite, and nothing about that should be difficult for anyone to understand.

But if that somehow isn’t clear enough for you, there might be more convincing evidence on the way, courtesy of the NFL leadership.  Again, Goodell and Co. have become convinced by the lie that the Anthem protests are about something other than disrespecting America.  But what if prefacing the National Anthem with the “Black national anthem” doesn’t appease the irrational mob calling to abolish or defund police and refusing to show pride in America, as it most likely will not?

What if, in Week 1, all the players stand for the “Black national anthem” out of pride and respect to it, but some players still kneel for America’s National Anthem to signify the opposite of pride and respect for it, as they have since 2016?  What then?

The NFL has many other events planned to appease the woke mobs throughout the season.  But what if those don’t work, either, because this has been about undermining and disrespecting America all along? 

To date, there remains little or no evidence that George Floyd’s death is the result of racism by police officers.  Yet, in the chaotic wake of his death at the hands of police officers, the NFL is doing virtue-signaling somersaults to appease a mob that it has obviously never understood.  In the end, Roger Goodell and the NFL may find that just turning a blind eye to the Anthem kneeling since it began in 2016 would have been far less detrimental to its brand and its future success than theatrically spitting in the faces of its core fan base of patriotic Americans who just want to watch football games on Sundays without watching multimillionaire entertainers lecture them about why their country sucks.