The NFL scheduled three regular season games outside of the United States this season. Two of the three games are in the books, both having been played in London, the third is coming November 19, in Mexico City. The NFL owners and Commissioner Roger Goodell see these international, regular season, games as a way to promote and grow international fans and increase revenues.

Ironically the NFL is seeing their US fan base decrease in larger percentages each week due to the many NFL players taking a knee during our National Anthem. The players claim they are protesting against social and racial injustice toward minorities by police and others.

Many NFL fans are patriotic and watch NFL football to get away from the stresses of real life and the weekly grind of work. Fans watch to relax, enjoy, be entertained, and to feel the competition of the game while rooting for their team to win.  No fan wants to sit down on Sunday watching their team play knowing half or more of the players on the field started the game by disrespecting the National Anthem.

This creates “serious angst” for many fans and is causing them do something else….as shown by the growing numbers just tuning out the NFL. For the average fan it is hard to keep watching million dollar athletes disrespect the flag every week when they are grindiing it out paycheck to paycheck, knowing, in their work place, there is no knee taking allowed…. none, nada, zip!

So….”the NFL is not the only game in town”.

The obvious question is why these knee takers feel their protests must happen during the National Anthem. These are million dollar athletes! They can have a platform with microphones, cameras, and the media hanging on their every word, any time or place they choose. They could be making  a “positive impact” on these social issues.

Instead, they choose to disrespect our nation, our military men and women, our veterans, our anthem, our flag, and all those who have paid the ultimate price for our freedoms by kneeling during our National Anthem.  Not only do they disrespect….. they send a very wrong message to youth, to fans, and to other nations, that America is so bad, so unjust, and so racist that they must protest during their own National Anthem.

Rocky Bleir, former Vietnam wounded war hero, seven season Pittsburg Steeler half back, four time Super Bowl champion, put it best; this is a mess created by Roger Goodell and the owners. It is not about free speech in the work place. The players are harming the profitability of their company, the NFL.  No worker could do the same thing at their place of work and not lose his or her job.

The London, England Games:

  • Wembley Stadium, London England; September 23, 2017
  • Jacksonville Jaguars 44 – Baltimore Ravens 7
  • Knee Takers: National Anthem- 2 dozen / British Anthem “God Save the Queen” – 0
  • Wembley Stadium, London England; October 1, 2017
  • New Orleans Saints 20 – Miami Dolphins 0
  • Knee Takers: During our Anthem aprox. 5 / British Anthem “God Save the Queen”- 0 note: the entire Saints team stood and locked arms for unity prior to our anthem.

The Mexico City Game-The Perfect Storm: The Mexico City NFL game in Azteca Stadium between the Raiders and the Patriots should pose a problem for the players who claim to be taking a knee to promote social and racial justice in America where, by their view, things are pretty bad.

There could be no two teams more suited for the “perfect knee taking storm” than the Raiders and the Patriots. There is no doubt the knee takers will see it as an opportunity to “put it in the faces” of the anthem supporters, President Trump, patriotic Americans, by taking a knee of disrespect during our National Anthem…..and then…. standing during the “Himno Nacional Mexicano” (the Mexican National Anthem), as a show of their respect for Mexico and the Mexican people.

Their Big Dilema: There is no better place to show protest toward political corruption, social prejudice, racism, and police abuse than in Mexico City.  Mexico is a two tiered society made up of the rich and poor. There is however a hidden third class, the indigenous peoples, who have suffered open prejudice, abuse, and political exclusion since Mexico’s independence from Spain. Today the indigenous peoples of Mexico live in abject poverty.  State racism condemns the indigenous people of Mexico to prison and poverty.

“Discrimination and racism permeate the state, institutions, and society when native peoples are perceived as needy, lazy, lacking, and impotent. Stereotypes continue to exclude indigenous people from developing policy to address their rights”. Laticia Aparacio Sorrono, Octobre 27, 2015

To NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, the owners, and the knee takers: Here is your veracity test. Are you really all about “free speech” and the courage to say and do what is needed to bring attention to social and political wrongs?

Compared to the problems in our country these things are a thousand times worse in Mexico. Do you believe knee taking during a National Anthem is the best way to draw attention to these social evils?  If so, I challenge you to take a knee during the playing of “Himno Nacional Mexicano.  Show the same disrespect toward the national pride of the people of Mexico as you do toward that of your own fellow citizens and fans back home.

Michael Hawke