By Ernie Fowler – Nashville CHSD #99
I find it interesting when folks choose to take a stand for something but use the thing they are taking a stand against to their benefit. I usually wait in eager anticipation for the beginning of the professional football season. Every year I just know that this will be the year my Dallas Cowboys return to the Super Bowl. Every year I just know that Tony Romo will make it through without an injury of some kind. Every year I find myself disappointed by the middle of the season. This year, however, my disappointment was moved ahead of schedule. No, not because Romo is once again laid up. No, not because the Cowboys lost their first game of the season. My disappointment came prior to the first snap when some players refused to show proper respect to our flag during the National Anthem. These “friends of the oppressed” millionaires chose to take the emphasis away from the very thing that unites us as the greatest nation on this Earth. Their protest is dangerous because it isn’t just about them. It tells our kids that respect for the flag and what it represents is optional. There are many things in life that are optional…..allegiance to this country should not be one of them. No, America is not perfect. We all have room for improvement. As far as I know, there is only one perfect place and I haven’t been called there yet. Until then, I’ll gladly take the United States and its problems over any other country.
These football players have no problem accepting money from this country. They have no problem accepting endorsements from companies who prosper because of this country. They have no problem in accepting protection from the police officers who protect the streets of this country. They have no problem benefiting from the freedoms that our military men and women defend in service to this country.
I have an idea. Since these football players only “work” a few months out of the year, maybe the National Football League should implement a service learning project where these burly guys could assist our police officers and military personnel during the off season. Instead of raising fists during the National Anthem, they could raise their hand when the season is over and volunteer for street patrol. Those few NFL players should look at their paycheck then look at the paycheck that is received by our police officers, firemen, and military folks. The NFL players receive big bucks for playing a game. Police officers, firemen, and military staff receive a fraction of an NFL salary for putting their lives on the line 24/7 for each one of us.
I’m sure our students, like I did while growing up, have certain athletes who are heroes in their eyes. During the Olympics, a young athlete stopped in mid-stride and saluted when he heard the Anthem start to play. He is a hero. For me, a hero becomes a zero when they don’t show respect for the USA. I’m proud of our country and I’m proud of our students every time the National Anthem is played and they proudly stand in honor of America.
Respect For The Flag