Yesterday will go down in history as one of the darkest days for the already-belaegured NFL, and one of its biggest stars is sharing his remorse for his actions.
During Sunday’s NFL contests, which began early in the morning EST with a game in London, a staggering 23% of all NFL player knelt or otherwise protested the playing of our National Anthem. What began as Colin Kaepernick’s thinly veiled publicity stunt last season, in which the washed up quarterback was purportedly protesting against American police, has now been stolen from the Black Lives Matter stalwarts from whence it came, and handed to the overly white, overly liberal “resistance” to President Donald Trump.
The action no longer represents a fight for racial justice so much as it represents a whiny, sore-loser-infested corner of American society in which these overpaid players, who’ve grown too big for their britches, believe that they are somehow above the word of the President of the United States. When Donald Trump told an audience of American patriotic faithfuls that he would fire any player disrespecting the anthem, were he their coach, it touched a nerve in the fragile egos of the National Football League.
Commissioner Roger Goodell immediately began a campaign of scolding the President – an uncouth and unacceptable display of self righteousness that demonstrates the vast distance between the values of the NFL and the values of the American people.
Now, a day after the dust has settled, and just hours before Monday Night Football reignites the controversy all over again, one football superstar is expressing his regret at the decision he made yesterday.
“Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said Monday that he regrets his team’s decision to stay off the field for the national anthem before Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears.
“In a statement posted on his website, Roethlisberger said, ‘I was unable to sleep last night and want to share my thoughts and feelings on our team’s decision to remain in the tunnel for the national anthem yesterday.’
“’The idea was to be unified as a team when so much attention is paid to things dividing our country, but I wish we approached it differently,’ he explained. ‘We did not want to appear divided on the sideline with some standing and some kneeling or sitting.’
“He argued the decision ‘was not a protest of the flag or the anthem.’
“’I personally don’t believe the anthem is ever the time to make any type of protest,’ he wrote. ‘For me, and many others on my team and around the league, it is a tribute to those who commit to serve and protect our country, current and past, especially the ones that made the ultimate sacrifice.’”
There is no word on the motivation for Roethlisberger’s sudden change of heart, but there are certainly some opinions on what may have brought about his newfound sentiments.
First, the NFL suffered a heavy loss yesterday in ratings, as the league faced pressure from the President and a boycott from a wide array of Americans. Furthermore, fellow Pittsburgh player Alejandro Villanueva, the lone Steeler to exit the tunnel to salute the flag during the anthem, became the most popular player in terms of merchandise sales overnight as U.S. citizens took notice of his actions.
Given the extraordinary greed displayed by players, coaches, and league administrators, it would be no surprise if players saw Villanueva’s patriotism as a marketing tool for their own branded gear.