Super Bowl Sunday has long been revered by millions of Americans as the greatest football experience of the year. It was something not to be missed.
However, Super Bowl 2018 will be different. Some will be sitting this one out. In fact, it is possible that the super bowl will never be the same again. Many Americans feel betrayed by the NFL and have simply given up football altogether.
The reason for the boycott is, of course, the blatant disrespect of many NFL players toward the nation’s flag and anthem. Players insisting upon “taking a knee” during the anthem soured many toward the game. People find it hard to understand why multi-millionaire players have politicized this most elementary display of patriotism and pride in the country. Especially offended are countless veterans who have fought under the flag.
The NFL establishment has tried to spin the kneeling as freedom of expression, legitimate protest or an exercise of diversity. No one is fooled by such arguments. The fans have spoken. This season’s ratings are way down. Attendance at games has declined. Stadiums are no longer full, and tickets are offered with discounts.
As the first major protest season ends, many families are boycotting the event. For the first time in their lives, they have concluded that the super bowl is not super anymore.
As the sports event approaches, these new dissenters will need to find ways to replace the game. They will need to fill the void of this usually exciting weekend. To those families boycotting the Super Bowl, here are three suggestions about how to spend the afternoon.
First, use the occasion to get together for a special dinner with family. Make it a teaching moment discussing with the children the reasons why the family is boycotting the game. Explain the notions of honor and love of country that should motivate Americans to serve the common good and not think of themselves. Tell stories of how members of the family have served the nation and the respect that they deserve. Invite family veterans over to tell their stories.
Secondly, use the afternoon as an occasion for the family to study the history of the nation. This might be done by visiting a war or historical museum. It might also include a reading of a text or the watching of a documentary. Study the times of great suffering when the flag has served as a symbol of inspiration. Study the good things as well as the bad.
Contrary to a stupid nationalism that deifies the nation, a real appreciation of America should recognize both faults and virtues. It should wish the best for America but also the best possible development of the qualities of other nations.
Finally, use the part of the afternoon of the game to pray as a family for the nation. When a country has reached a point in which the people no longer respect the symbols, qualities and sacrifices of the past, then it is in great need of prayers.
Pray for the nation. Take time to think of the institutions of family, community and Faith that are being destroyed and pray for them. Pray for family and friends. Pray for the soldiers, especially those deployed far away. Pray for a polarized nation and for a general return to God and order.
There is so much to pray for. This can be an occasion to pray together with others, whether it be at home, church, an adoration chapel or a family rosary. Prayers can work wonders.
For some, the decision to boycott the Super Bowl is difficult. However, for something to be “super” it must conform to high standards and respect all that is excellent and worthy of honor. Something super should not stoop to that which is denigrating, offensive or politically correct.
When the Super Bowl is no longer super, it is best to stand by ones’ principles and become part of the solution.
If you are boycotting the Super Bowl this year, how will you be spending your Sunday afternoon? Please tell us below.
John Horvat II is a scholar, researcher, educator, international speaker, and author of the book Return to Order, as well as the author of hundreds of published articles. He lives in Spring Grove, Pennsylvania where he is the vice president of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property.