Commentary

Charlie Daniels: Even a Football Junkie Like Me Has to Wonder If NFL Has Reached a Tipping Point

Charlie Daniels
By Charlie Daniels | September 25, 2017 | 3:19 PM EDT

Cleveland Browns Stadium pre-game show with a 100-yard wide American flag. (Wikimedia Commons Photo/Crash Underride)

The controversy about professional athletes refusing to stand for the playing of our National Anthem has reached the highest office in the land, and while I’m not sure that’s the proper venue for the airing out of such a divisive issue, sooner or later it’s going to have to come to a head, and what the ramifications will be are still not clear at this time.

My feelings are that to respect the flag and the anthem does not mean you respect or condone every slight or injustice that takes place in the nation they represent, but and especially in such a public venue, you are showing that you do respect the freedoms we enjoy as a people and the ones who have given and are even currently risking their lives to ensure that we stay a free and sovereign nation.

In a ceremony that many times involves a military color guard, a flyover or some other symbol of our military, disrespecting the flag, the banner they fought under and the anthem that was played when they were sent off to war, cuts deep in the veteran population.

The players may say they mean no disrespect to veterans, but many veterans are not taking it that way at all. A short hop through the internet could bear me out.

And if the protests are meant to garner support for the causes they espouse, they seem to have the opposite effect as the latest polls show and that most of the American public are not happy with the players kneeling or sitting during “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

There are even those who refuse to go to or even watch a game on television, and with the NFL’s recent ratings and attendance dip, this can’t be good news for a sport which has dominated the airwaves for a quarter century or so.

And there is another consideration.

I consider myself a dyed in the wool football fan. I watch the college games on Saturday and dive into my Sunday Ticket channels on Sunday, and work time allowing, watch Sunday Night Football, Monday Night Football, Thursday Night Football and am chomping at the bit by the time the weekend rolls around again.

But, even a football junkie like me has to wonder if the NFL has reached a tipping point, an over saturation, such a ready availability that any novel appeal has been rubbed off and that the broadcaster’s foray into political and social comment is an irritating pill to swallow.

Have we reached a point in America that even a sporting event has to be politicized?

We are bombarded with news reports, news flashes, news alerts, fake news, twenty-four hours a day, and in this age of commentators, talking heads and guests seeking to sway opinions one way or another, we face constant sensory overload, constantly broadsided by not just the news but the dissection, coloring and spinning of the facts.

Can we not even watch a sports event, which used to be sacrosanct territory where we could escape the ever-present political blabber and enjoy a couple of hours of excitement and entertainment?

The upshot will probably not be the “killing of the golden goose,” but could well result in the severe wounding as a significant portion of NFL revenue comes from television. If ratings fall enough for these networks – since they are in it for the money, no matter how sympathetic they may appear – and they find they can make more by dropping professional football and broadcasting a tiddlywinks tournament, they will do so.

NFL owners are also in it for the money, and if enough season ticket buyers drop their ticket subscriptions and corporate entities begin to give up their expensive luxury boxes, if TV revenue shrinks and the grandstands are only half full-on Sunday, the owners will no longer be able to afford to pay the exorbitant salaries. A fiscal domino theory will go into effect, and the bloom could fall of the professional football rose in a hurry.

Is this going to happen?

I certainly hope not.

Only time will tell.

What do you think?

Pray for our troops our police and the peace of Jerusalem.

God Bless America

Charlie Daniels

Charlie Daniels is a legendary American singer, song writer, guitarist, and fiddler famous for his contributions to country and southern rock music. Daniels has been active as a singer since the early 1950s. He was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry on January 24, 2008.

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