Unless you’ve had your head buried somewhere rather uncomfortable, you’re well aware of the controversy that’s been rocking the NFL for over a year now, involving players taking a knee during the National Anthem as a form of “protest.”
The trend was started last season by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who refused to stand for the song and honoring the flag as a means of supporting Black Lives Matter.
This led to many other players across the league joining forces with Kaepernick to get the same level of attention he was receiving for his antics.
Unfortunately, rather than send a message, the only thing this disrespectful behavior accomplished is to make fans angry and tune off the games, spending their time and money elsewhere.
Kaepernick has since become a sort of undesirable figure as no team wants to sign him due to the drama he brings to the table. Oh and he’s a crappy quarterback, so yeah, he’s got a lot going against him.
Say, maybe that’s why he started protesting to begin with, to take the attention off of how bad he was performing on the field?
Anyway, thankfully, not every player in the NFL is trying to sellout their country and be a disrespectful hack as a means of getting attention.
Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert recently penned an essay explaining what he thinks about the protests and why he has opted to stand instead.
This is truly a classy fellow right here.
“I know it would probably be best to stay out of it, but when you believe in something as much as I do, it gets to a point where you want both sides to be heard,” he said.
“I stand because I love my country,” Eifert said. “I stand because I want to honor the people putting their lives on the line for me on a daily basis in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard.”
“I stand because my cousin is a pilot in the United States Air Force, risking his life flying F-15s in active war zones. He takes pride in his job protecting Americans, a sacrifice that all members of every branch of the United States military willfully take,” he added.
Eifert explained that he plans to combat the negativity surrounding the NFL with his own personal practice: writing the name of a different military member on his shoes before every game.
“For the first game this weekend against the Baltimore Ravens, I am writing Pat Tillman’s name on my cleats,” Eifert said Saturday. “And each game thereafter, I am going to write another person’s name from the United States military, whether active, retired, killed or missing in action, or a prisoner of war.
“These people are why I am standing because they gave me and everyone else the chance to have freedom and earn a living playing a sport I love,” he added.
“In this world of turmoil, I still believe in one thing strongly and that’s the flag and everything our country was built on,” he said. “Fast-forward another 15 years and hopefully, we will all be able to look back at these years unified with pride to be Americans.”
This, Mr. Kaepernick, is how you handle an issue with class, poise, and professionalism. You’d do well to take a few lessons from Eifert on how to conduct oneself while in the public eye.
Men like Eifert are a breath of fresh air, a reminder that despite the petulance and childishness that often comes from those on the left — and trust me, there’s plenty of it — there exists a few good men who don’t bow down to trendy activism for the sake of attention or money.
There are still individuals, heroes, who stand up for what they know is right and true, regardless of the consequences, providing an example the rest of us should follow.
Game day is a time when Americans can leave behind the political division, joining together under the banner of their favorite team, for once, having more in common than they normally do, sharing the human experience and treating each other with respect.
The conflict Kaepernick and his ilk have stirred up threatens that unity, that break we get from the madness, which is why, aside from the fact it dishonors our nation, so many people, liberal and conservative alike, are against this sort of behavior.
It’s time for more players to look toward Eifert and follow his example, to keep the integrity of the game, and to push forward and try, just for a little while each week, to love one another and enjoy our common humanity.