Mike Rowe, the guy of “Dirty Jobs” fame, issued some scathing criticisms against the NFL and — well, and pretty much everyone else tied to the whole football protest movement.
No, really, Mike, tell us how you feel.
A fan asked Rowe what he thought about the state of the football industry, about President Donald Trump’s comments, and about NFL players who didn’t stand for the national anthem. So Rowe told him.
And what a response it was.
As the Daily Caller noted, Rowe said, in a written reply: “In democracies, we the people get the government we deserve. We also get the celebrities we deserve, the artists we deserve and the athletes we deserve. Because ultimately, we the people get to decide who and what gets our attention, and who and what does not.”
Enter the kneeling NFL players.
“The NFL, the players who choose to kneel, the networks who choose to broadcast their protest, the advertisers who sponsor the games and the president of the United States are all eager for our attention,” he went on. “And they are all using football to get it.”
That’s fine, Rowe said. Until it isn’t.
“In my view,” he wrote, “this controversy really isn’t about patriotism, social justice, racial inequality or free speech. It’s not even about the flag or the National Anthem. It’s really only about one thing — what we will tolerate and what we won’t.”
Even Rowe didn’t like Trump’s call for coaches to fire players who refuse to stand for the anthem, saying he was “disappointed” to hear the president make such an appeal.
“Not because I dispute the owners’ right to do so,” Rowe said, “and not because I would grieve the dismissal of anyone who chooses to disrespect our flag. I was disappointed because the president’s comments presuppose that the owners are in charge of the game. They’re not. We are. We decide what to watch and that decision — far more than any other consideration — will determine what the owners choose to do. And that in turn will affect what the players choose to do.”
Rowe said the president missed a golden opportunity to remind the nation that the NFL, in the end, and its players “work for us,” the fans and the people.
“He might have also used the occasion to remind us that he, too, serves at our pleasure,” Rowe continued.
Then there’s Roger Goodell, commissioner of the league, as well as the NFL Player’s Association.
“I felt a similar bemusement when the commissioner issued his response, followed by the president of the player’s union,” he said. “Their comments, along with the comments of many of the players themselves, were perfectly reasonable, perfectly understandable, and perfectly in keeping with their First Amendment rights. But they were also perfectly arrogant. Because they, too, presuppose that millions of fans will continue to watch them play a game, no matter what.”
Once again, good point.
“Here’s the thing,” Rowe wrapped. “The fans of professional football are not powerless — we’re just not yet offended enough to turn the channel. Should that ever change in a meaningful way — if, for instance, a percentage of football fans relative to those players who chose to kneel during today’s games, chose to watch something else next Sunday — I can assure you … the matter would be resolved by Monday.”
And what a timely reminder: We the people are not powerless.
We’re not just the bosses of legislators, senators, police and yes, the president — we’re also the bosses of the free market. If we don’t like the NFL and what it’s doing politically, we can certainly change that, and quickly, with both pens and pocketbooks.
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