It appears as though the national anthem kneeling protests will fade away into a footnote in NFL’s history, and rightly so. The public has already lost its sympathy for these athletes and have let the league know of their discontent.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) released a press release on this very same topic. According to his official website, he said, “It is time for players in the NFL to stop their protests during the anthem and move on from what has become a divisive political sideshow. Instead, I encourage them to use their voices and influence to take a stand against domestic violence.”
The governor called on the NFL to focus on speaking out against domestic violence, saying that the issue could unite the league that’s been plagued by controversy ever since the protests first began.
Besides calling for players to stop protesting the anthem and the flag in a letter addressed to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, he encouraged them to focus their efforts on more important matters and act as positive role models.
“Instead, I encourage them to use their voices and influence to take a stand against domestic violence,” Walker wrote. “With the NFL owners meeting occurring tomorrow, during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, now would be an especially opportune time to strongly condemn domestic violence and lead the charge in supporting safe families across America.”
The Governor mentioned that he recently spent time listening to the stories of domestic abuse survivors at the Wisconsin State Capitol, which was what inspired him to make these comments.
“NFL players could have a remarkable impact on awareness and prevention efforts if each player would agree to speak out, as well as agree to take a personal stand, against domestic violence. This is an issue that can unite people across America,” the Governor said.
Walker concluded his statement with the following remark: “My request is simple: stand for the American flag and the national anthem out of respect for those who risk their lives for our freedoms and then take a stand against domestic violence to keep American families safe. That’s something we can all agree on, and that just might help the NFL reunite with many of its devoted fans.”
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell already spoke out against the NFL protests. He issued an official memo to all teams telling them to stop the protests. Despite calling out how divisive such displays are, many teams are continuing to do so– including the San Francisco 49ers and their leader, Eric Reid. The NFL has made it clear that players who protest won’t be facing any consequences from the league.
When asked why Walker decided to interject himself into this debate so late, Tom Evenson, the Governor’s spokesman, said that October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and that hearing the stories at the annual Governor’s Council on Domestic Abuse awards ceremony had moved the Governor greatly.
Gov. Walker called out the NFL protestors for wasting their time. Do you agree?
State Rep. Melissa Sargent (D-WI), however, accused Walker of ignoring the issue of domestic violence for years, suggesting instead that this letter was a political stunt with the intent of making himself more relevant.
In light of the numerous financial troubles affecting the NFL, the owners made the right choice in cracking down on these anti-American protests.
With the tide of public opinion being squarely against these anthem-kneeling players, they would do better to focus their frustrations on a more meaningful cause.