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Outsiders vs. Insiders: How NFL flag protesters helped corrupt the minds of America’s youth

When is a vital social cause not a vital social cause? Answer: when you’re an NFL football playing flag protester and it’s Veterans Day weekend.

With the NFL season now over half complete and many Americans having already voluntarily severed emotional connections with the nation’s previous favorite fall pastime, the news media went out of its way earlier this Colin Kaepernickweek to highlight the fact that the vast majority of NFL players stood for the national anthem this past Sunday.

Why? The players’ stated rationale for declaring a temporary suspension from highlighting their non-football related social grievances was because they wanted to make it plainly understood that pigskin athletes honor the military and it wouldn’t be right for them to kneel or sit when everyone else in America was busy thanking veterans for their service and sacrifice. Whether the disgruntled lot will be back at protesting again next week remains unclear, though maybe they’ll think Thanksgiving is another good reason not to make a stink this time around. Who knows?

The “look, they’re standing now!” hoopla began a week ago when flag protest leader and social activist Michael Bennett of the Seattle Seahawks was shown “honoring” the anthem during the pregame ceremony on Thursday night football. NBC’s (which broadcasted the game) announcers proudly explained why Bennett chose not to sit or kneel – this week – almost as if to say, “I’m still a protester but I’m taking a break because I like vets.”

(Note: Bennett said he’ll stand again this Sunday because it’s “Salute to Service” day for the Seahawks.)

Bennett’s astute public relations action was echoed throughout the league on the day after Veterans Day. Fox News reported, “As Americans reflected on Veterans Day weekend and some called for a boycott of the National Football League in response to player protests during the national anthem, few players were seen taking a knee on Sunday.

“The league has faced pressure amid new outcry over the protests on social media, such as a Facebook page called ‘Boycott the NFL,’ which boasted more than 227,000 followers and asked football fans to skip watching Sunday’s games ‘in solidarity with veterans around the country.’”

The Fox story mentioned a couple San Francisco 49ers continued their kneeling anti-salute during the anthem on Sunday as did one New York Giant. Other teams did the opposite, offering special tributes to veterans though both the league and the players union insisted they hadn’t moved off their previous positions and that their policy towards anthem protests had not changed.

In other words, the stupidity appears to march on with only a brief hiatus granted to make nice with military personnel on Veterans Day. Players can still officially dis the flag -- but a guy or gal in a uniform? Forget it. And aren’t a lot of veterans currently serving on the nation’s police forces? What about them?

In this controversy with no “vital cause” or specified demands it’s not at all evident when or if there will ever be a resolution. It’s kind of like the “War on Terror” which didn’t have a declared start date and no one knows if it will ever end – or even if it’s still going on…at least the politicians aren’t sharing the truth with us.

In an interview last month, Bennett did say any “negotiations” between the NFL and players should take place only after some team bones up and signs original controversy-starter quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who remains out of a job and by all appearances isn’t in line to get one anytime soon (at least throwing footballs).

If Bennett’s attitude is representative of other protesting players around the league, their ultimatums include compelling some sacrificial lamb team owner to commit business suicide by adding the America-bashing, mediocre-performing ex-signal caller to their roster. Not only is it statistically proven that Kaepernick’s proficiency declined markedly in the last couple seasons he played, but any team that would add him now risks infuriating the already animated anti-NFL crowd as well as any people who may have given the league another chance after letting the matter settle a bit.

Though the Veterans Day NFL fan boycott didn’t get further it doesn’t mean there still aren’t a significant number of people who are tuning out the NFL. Chris Enloe of The Blaze reported, “Some bars and other sports establishments [also participated in the boycott], Fox News noted. One New Jersey bar plans to hold a fundraiser for veterans instead of playing football games on its nearly two dozen screens.

“KDVR-TV reported that a decorated veteran even turned down the opportunity to be honored tonight during a Denver Broncos game.”

The most recent protests have largely been confined to a small group of players on a few teams but the damage to the league’s reputation as a whole has already been done. Some owners are openly unhappy with league commissioner Roger Goodell and as Bennett hinted at above, there’s no end in sight for the players who are perpetuating the hullabaloo.

(Note: Goodell wants a big raise, too.)

If it’s reached the point where it makes news whenever someone like Michael Bennett announces his weekly decision on whether to stand or kneel for the national anthem, you know the poison has spread throughout the body and the league’s vital organs will begin shutting down in the near future. It probably won’t be this season as ticket holders committed to buying their seats long ago. But that quarter of a million who felt motivated enough to join an NFL boycott Facebook page is only the tip of the iceberg.

Fans may still watch, engage in fantasy football and participate in the office betting pool but they aren’t going to buy their kids that NFL jersey and decorate their rooms with local team logos any longer. The league’s death will become discernible through the drip-drip-drip of an IV bag full of contempt. There are already more than enough other things to do on Sunday afternoons – people will decide something else is more worthy of their time. Heck, even watching Hallmark Christmas movies is preferable for my family to the sport we once so much enjoyed.

Not everyone agrees on the inevitable collapse of the NFL, however. GQ magazine chose to honor none other than Colin Kaepernick himself in a recent issue. ESPN.com reported, “Colin Kaepernick has been named ‘Citizen of the Year’ by GQ magazine, which published a feature story Monday about the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback and his emergence as a polarizing figure since his decision to protest during the national anthem.

“Kaepernick is not quoted in the story, titled ‘Colin Kaepernick Will Not Be Silenced.’ GQ states in the story that Kaepernick, who has rarely spoken publicly since becoming a free agent earlier this year, has ‘grown wise to the power of his silence.’

“GQ also writes that Kaepernick agreed to participate in its project because ‘he wants to reclaim the narrative of his protest.’ The majority of the story consists of perspectives from people that GQ describes as Kaepernick's ‘closest confidants.’”

In a world chock full of liberal hooey news stories this is one of the most egregious examples. Imagine a publication choosing to put Colin Kaepernick on its cover and then honoring him for not saying anything in the article. It’s almost like going to a university sculpture garden and gushing with praise over a piece of modern art that resembles a pile of discarded scrap metal.

Perhaps less shocking is Kaepernick’s determination to “reclaim the narrative” of his protest. You mean ‘ol Colin K. isn’t happy that people like Michael Bennett are speaking out on the “movement” he started and redefining what it is that players can (and can’t) stand for? Maybe Kaepernick really despises veterans along with the American flag and wasn’t happy that a group of regular protest-sitters decided to stand and honor them?

Kaepernick’s former 49ers teammate Eric Reid contributed to the GQ article and said, “My goal this year has been to get the narrative back on track. We started having communications with the NFL, and they said they're going to help us make progress on these issues. But the next step is to get Colin back in the NFL. Because he's the one that started this. I think we're finally getting where me and Colin envision this going. Now it's time for him to get back in the league.”

In essence it’s all about Kaepernick. The “other” players in the league who took up Kaepernick’s cause aren’t doing it justice, apparently, and Colin himself needs to reemerge in stadiums and reassume his role as the players’ chief rabble rouser. Could this be about money? Could it be about ego?

Or more likely it’s about the type of “fundamental transformation” of American culture Obama used to talk about. It isn’t really about criminal justice reform or the increasingly rare instances of police brutality; it’s about controlling the “narrative” and silencing people who disagree with them.

Ultimately, it could be about advancing socialism, the left’s defining cause. They’ve already got half the young people on their side. Perry Chiaramonte of Fox News reported, “Nearly half of all U.S. millennials believe the greatest safe space of them all would be living under a socialist regime.

“That’s according to a new study from research firm YouGov and Washington, D.C.-based Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, which surveyed over 2,000 people regarding their views on socialism and the communist political system. The biggest takeaway from the study was that one out of every two millennials surveyed said they would rather live in a socialist or communist country over a capitalist democracy like the U.S.”

The report allegedly also found one in five Americans in their 20’s considers Joseph Stalin a hero and over a quarter of those responding to the survey thought the same for Vladimir Lenin and Kim Jung-un, too. These communist figures are probably more popular in the United States than in their own countries or historic places of origin.

No wonder Bernie Sanders has such a large following among the snowflake college crowd. Millennials are either being poorly taught or they like mass murder. Maybe it’s both. In the old days it was Jane Fonda going to Hanoi to praise the communists; now it’s college kids talking sweetly about men who murdered tens of millions of innocent people in their day.

Think about this the next time you see a Trump protest on the news: “Those kids love Kim Jung-un.”

No doubt the ongoing NFL protest controversy isn’t contributing to the advancement of political discourse in this country. The dishonor and debasement of the American flag has already shown itself in the mindsets of young people in this country. The real question is, where do we go from here?

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