Because players continue to engage in the protest of the national anthem, the NFL needs ways to repair their image. Players are protesting the anthem as a response to police brutality and racial injustice in America. But the majority of Americans and football fans do not support the players’ choice to protest during the pregame national anthem ceremony. While people do not disagree that players should be able to protest, they just wish they’d pick a different time and place – one that does not target the flag or the national anthem.
Despite the pushback, even from the president himself, NFL players continue to take a knee during the national anthem.
In a desperate move to repair their image, the NFL invited a retired and highly awarded U.S. Navy officer to come to a game. They wanted to honor the veteran at Sunday’s New Orleans Saints game.
But the veteran refused to attend. And the commander’s rejection dealt a fatal blow to the NFL’s reputation.
Commander John Wells was scheduled to receive the Peoples Health Champion Award. But he wrote a letter to the team’s executives that he wanted nothing to do with the NFL.
Even though the award is only given to highly qualified individuals with “significant accomplishments,” and Cmdr. Wells met all the qualifications, and he was unwilling to stoop low and work with the NFL in any capacity.
In his rejection letter obtained by WDSU-TV, Cmdr. Wells wrote:
But he wasn’t done rejecting the NFL. He had a few more choice words to say to the league that once was a bastion of patriotism and military pride.
“I had hoped and prayed that the NFL would outlaw these disgraceful protests and wanted to give the commissioner and the owners a fair opportunity to do so. Their failure to act is a slap in the face to all of those who have served in uniform. Men and women have fought and died for the flag that the players are disrespecting.”
Cmdr. Wells got his message to the NFL. And they heard him loud and clear.
He added in a later statement:
“Although I am touched and honored to be selected for such an award, the ongoing controversy with NFL players’ disrespect for the national flag forces me to decline to participate in the presentation. I am unable, in good conscience, to enter an NFL stadium while this discourtesy prevails. Since this award is tainted with the dishonorable actions of the NFL and its players, I cannot accept it.”
As more players continue to join the protest across the league, Saints quarterback Drew Brees devised a way for players to protest the issues without offending veterans and military personnel. He got his team to kneel before the anthem and then stand when it played.
The quarterback tweeted, “As a way to show respect to all, our #Saints team will kneel in solidarity prior to the national anthem & stand together during the anthem.”
Do you think this is a better alternative?