NFL Anthem Daze


It would be nice to have an adult in the White House. Until then, it might help to stop letting ourselves get so triggered by the “Troll in Chief.” His comments were ham-fisted, divisive, crude, and un-worthy of the office.

This is nothing new for him. And yet, while Trump is a lot of things, he knows when an opportunity to serve his goals presents itself.

Trump saw an easy chance to score a walk-in touchdown with his base, and spike it in Roger Goodell’s face. So, of course, he did. Now he’ll get back to a long list of his own problems – North Korea, the wall, DACA, tax reform, Russia-gate, heel-dragging congressional Republicans, and on and on.. – and leave Roger holding the bag of shit.

Trump will wander along to a new rhetorical punching bag in a week, and cable news will gobble up this new Trumpian outrage. Meanwhile, what’s the NFL’s next move? The same owners who have amazingly not conspired at all to keep Kaep un-employed (eye roll) were almost universally compelled to write love-letters to their protesting players. This will not sit well with many of their season ticket holders, who might have already been looking for an exit cue.

This Kaepernick Bomb has been a slow fuse burning… one that I’m sure the $43 Million Man had hoped would quietly go away. Now, the anthem ceremony has been certified as THE PLACE to protest – and nobody dare say you can’t!

It’s too late for Goodell to try to impose an NBA-style written edict on anthem etiquette. The NBA’s was agreed to in their CBA with the players, and David Stern was quick to bring down the hammer on Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf many years ago. Besides, if he tried, Goodell would be siding with Trump. So that’s a no-go.

Goodell could continue doing nothing – his “go-to” move – and hope that eventually these protests will simmer down again, and anthem normalcy returns. Good luck with that. The NFL’s commentary class just LOVES these mini-protests. I saw many tweets from sportswriters who gushed about how “nuts” and “amazing” Sunday was going to be! The commentary class will talk about, photograph, and discuss these courageous acts of civil disobedience until the end of time. Today it’s police brutality. Tomorrow, discriminatory lending. After that, gun laws. And on, and on.

The end game, I’m afraid, will be for the anthem to be moved to when players are in the lockeroom anyway. This is apparently how it was up until 2009, when the Department of Defense decided to throw some money at the NFL for some patriotism porn, with NFL stars serving as the unpaid spokesmen.

The exact “did they, or didn’t they” pre-2009 is somewhat murky. This piece claims it all started in 2009. But at the end, you’ll see, the story notes that well…. some teams and players actually did stand. So who knows?

Either way, I can say emphatically I like the anthem before games, because I love this country. It gives me 2 minutes to reflect upon how lucky I am to live in such a diverse, pluralistic, forward thinking, big brawny, beer-and-wings lovin’, do-your-thing and let’s make some money country. I also reflect upon the immense blood and treasure that has been spent in order to keep it that way. It’s the best nation of free men (and women) on earth. Nothing else comes close. Even with all the stuff that’s fucked up about it. (Debate amongst yourselves, please).

I have always felt Kaepernick’s protest was inappropriate. Not necessarily disrespectful, just inappropriate. Wrong place, wrong time. The NFL’s stage, was not his stage to hi-jack. Others strongly disagree. But you’ll never change my mind. Beyond that, Kaepernick’s kneeling – or anyone else’s – didn’t BOTHER me. And I never once thought about boycotting the NFL because of it. I don’t get bothered by NFL players taking stances because I don’t take them seriously.

I mean, these are guys who forget to stop running 1 yard from the endzone, and crawl around like dogs after touchdowns pretending to go pee-pee.

It was ironic that Sunday was described as a “show of unity” when teams did literally a half-dozen different things as a form of silent “protest.” Some standing, others kneeling, many locking arms. Some teams stayed inside entirely. The Steelers almost did, but then watched Army veteran Alejandro Villaneuva stand at attention from inside the tunnell.

If you want to do something powerful and unified, here’s a crazy idea: line up at attention with your hand on your heart. I know, sounds weird, but it might just work.

Ultimately, this is a branding problem for the NFL, at precisely the wrong time. They are already under pressure with the concussion issue, shockingly empty stadiums continues to be a weekly discussion point. And now the NFL is becoming known as “the protest league.”

Not a good look, and not good for business. It’s a burden no other pro sports league has to carry right now. And I blame Goodell for not seeing this coming, and getting his arms around it, a long time ago.


  1. I don’t care about their protests because, like you Czabe I don’t take them serious. How can you when they can’t even articulate what they want in order to stop protesting. Might as well be protesting for world peace. It’s silly.

  2. Yesterday was the perfect example of political grandstanding. How many of these players, as well as sports media members will do something for their “stance”? Answer…NONE. J.J. Watt used his fame and PERSONAL time to make a difference. What have the other players done on their PERSONAL time? I am waiting…..

    • Aaron, since it’s easy to do the research to see what a person is doing (or not doing) to make a difference, I doubt you will read the following since it doesn’t match your mission statement.

      But here’s a snippet…
      While Kaepernick waits to play, he has hardly been idle. Fulfilling a “million-dollar” pledge he made during the heat of the anthem flap last September, he has donated $100,000 every month since October to up to four charities, with little notice beyond Kaepernick’s website.

      The beneficiaries are usually small, relatively unknown and surprised.

      “We had no idea how Colin Kaepernick heard about our organization,” said Carolyn A. Watson, founder and executive director of Helping Oppressed Mothers Endure, or H.O.M.E., a foundation supporting single mothers in Georgia. Someone representing Kaepernick contacted the group, Watson said, “and before we knew it, we were giving them the appropriate information and received a $25,000 check in the mail.”

      Muhibb Dyer, a co-founder of the I Will Not Die Young Campaign in Milwaukee, thought the $25,000 donation was a prank.

      “What is unique is that he identified grass-roots organizations like my own that are hanging on by a thread trying to do the work,” Dyer said. “But a lot of the time we are face-to-face, in the trenches, with some of the most at-risk youth in this country. Having him reach out to us is like a lifeline to continue the work that we do that is oftentimes not highlighted, but very much essential to the life and death of youth every day.”

      There’s more but I doubt you will get that far in the article. Disagree or not, comments such as yours feed into this being the issue that it is.

  3. No one takes these guys seriously except the far leaning leftist liberals.
    I’ll start taking Kap and any of these are clown’s seriously when I actually see them spending their free time and money to helping and contributing to the said cause they’re “supposedly” protesting.
    Until then just give me my NFL straight.

    • Yes, hello, I’d like to write a check for ONE MILLION DOLLARS to the “Hey Police, Stop Killing Black People” relief fund. Okay done, stop kneeling now.

      It’s not that easy. You have absolutely no idea what these players do with their free time. A lot of them donate time and money to their community. What have you done? Do you even stop shoving chips down your throat when the anthem is playing on TV?

      • *“Hey Police, Stop Killing Black People” relief fund*

        Do you homework. It’s called the National Fatherhood Initiative and your donation is tax-deductible.

      • He could have contacted the SFPD publicly and challenged them to meet him and discuss these issues. I would have supported that. I know that police brutality against poor people and particularly political demonstrations in the streets is a problem. I have known that for many years. I was also fully aware that police often profile black people; partly because they are racists or lazy but partly because more poor people in the inner cities, where most of the crime and violence is, are black. He could have used post game interviews to do it. he could have done any number of things that would have kept this on message and not diverted it into all sorts of other issues. Where you are and what goes on around you has a huge bearing on activism. If you want to protest the WTO you go to a WTO meeting. You don’t stand outside an open air restaurant where people are trying to have a meal and do it. it is rude. And it distracts from the message. How does kneeling at a football game or growing a ‘ fro change any of what CK was originally upset about? It obviously doesn’t.

        Unlike Czabe I don’t like the anthem nonsense and all the flag sucking and flyovers that goes on before football games now at all. We’re not in North Korea, where they do exactly the same things before sports arrangements. If people need this shit in order to feel patriotic then they should reexamine themselves. So in that way I like the kneeling, because it’s poking a finger in the ribs of the NFL for accepting money from the DoD (Tax money. Your money) to be jingoistic propagandists for the state. But it is not effective activism because of the venue chosen. 95% of the conversation regarding this stuff has not been about police brutality and racial profiling. It has been about the dishonoring flag, the veterans, hating the police, not being patriots etc. And that is Colin Kaepernick’s fault. He is a very poor activist. Take it from an ancient activist.

  4. Goodall is s doofus, but not in this case. This would have all died down if it weren’t for Trump. Should Goodell have said ” let’s not have players come out for the anthem because Trump will probably throw gasoline on it.” I commend the response from the NFL. It was thoughtful and measured. As josh Norman said this isn’t about the flag, it is about the man behind the podium.

  5. Can we please address/dispense with the notion that what is going on is “Constitutionally protected free speech”? I think what bothers me most about all of this is the hypocrisy and fundamental lack of understanding for what the Constitution means, and whose power it limits and what “rights” it does and does not protect. We are becoming a dumber and less understanding nation/culture by the minute thanks to this ongoing “conversation” and “show of unity”.

    Can we just admit what is really going on here? This an ongoing hissy fit by the left because they lost a presidential election. Yes, Trump comes off as childish and unbefitting the office. So did the last guy “we won, you lost, now shut up and stay out of our way”, to paraphrase. Nothing in this country has substantially changed in the less than one year since the election. Yet where were these protests before, or during the prior presidency?

    • NFL is a private corporation who is free to limit what its employees can say or do during the time that the employees are performing the specific jobs the employees are paid by the NFL to perform.

      Trump represents the government of the United States of America. He is not a private citizen anymore. When he suggests that those who are exercising non-violent, non-hatred free speech should be punished, he is doing so as the United States government.

      The Constitution doesn’t not protect citizens from the limitations on speech imposed upon them by their employer, whom the citizens willingly work for. It does protect citizens from limitations on speech imposed upon them by the government. I agree with Czabe. Trump is a troll, and NFL should have stopped this last year when it started. Trump lit the house on fire, walked away, and NFL has to try to put it out now.

    • I don’t think you’ve done your research. Kaepernick began this by sitting during the anthem August 14 of last year–well before Trump’s election. I would also say that you don’t understand (or maybe you just don’t like) his right to express his opinion in whatever way he likes. I don’t think that most player and now coaches and owners have stated WHY they are doing this clearly enough or why they are using this particular stage for their protest.

    • You are correct, this is NOT constitutionally protected free speech. Yet that is how it’s framed by the press, the players and even the owners. It’d be funny if it weren’t yet another nail in the education system coffin (among other things). Regardless, I don’t really take the “protests” seriously, nor do I feel threatened or irritated enough to let them change my viewing habits (or lack thereof). Frankly, the most moved I’ve been was by the sight of Villaneuva standing at attention during the anthem yesterday. Ranger, football player, man of principal. One last thing – sad that politics (Presidential, Congressional, etc) has devolved to this level, where scoring points with the base means more than actually doing something of value for the country, and triggering a good portion of “we the people” into various hissyfits. Talk about needing a shower

  6. Yes, hello, I’d like to write a check for ONE MILLION DOLLARS to the “Hey Police, Stop Killing Black People” relief fund. Okay done, stop kneeling now.

    It’s not that easy. You have absolutely no idea what these players do with their free time. A lot of them donate time and money to their community. What have you done? Do you even stop shoving chips down your throat when the anthem is playing on TV?

    • Easy to say, well , what have you done? These guys make millions and are off 6 months of the year so it’s EASY for them to donate TIME and MONEY. Don’t go all up over yourself about the truth.

  7. Czabe, I generally have no problem with any form of protest, so as long as violence is not a means or end goal. My issues with the kneeling is that the vast majority or Americans look to sports as an escape from the reality of life, they certainly do not want politics to infringe upon that escape. That is why folks are tuning out in droves. Not because they don’t like it, don’t respect it or even agree with it. The NFL hasn’t yet grasped this reasoning and their response has been wispy washy, late, and allowed it to get out of control, as of course it would have, without league policy in the issue. As a veteran, 6 time deployed, horribly injured I also feel the protests miss the point of the anthem as you captured. It is time to reflect on how good we have it, to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice so people can protest. Unfortunately most Americans never leave this country to have some form of comparison. Having been to Somalia, Afghanistan, Korean DMZ, Pakistan, etc. I have ample comparison and nothing comes close to the USA.

    Thanks Czabe!

    John Hill

  8. I wasn’t upset about the kneeling or the Trump ‘walk in touchdown’ on the issue…until they stood for ‘God Save the Queen’ after kneeling for the ‘Star Spangled Banner’. That’s a punch to the gut of what makes us a country- it’s like going to your ex wife’s Thanksgiving dinner and leading the prayer after throwing a McDonald’s bag at your current wife and kids that you’re making sit in the car.

  9. “…taking them seriously”? That sounds like either a cop out on your part czabe or rationalization to keep watching & not face how serious this really is. I dont take “hollywood” blowhards seriously either, their cumulative intelligence & common sense is elementary at best but their INFLUENCE is huge, as is NFL celebs.
    The INFLUENCE they have over others can’t be poo poo’d here. Influence to disrespect our flag.

    …sidebar here…
    It wouldn’t hurt the dumbasses to understand we are to respect the OFFICE of the presidency, regardless of which blowhard occupies it. (See Major Winters/Captain Sobel in the last episode of Band of Brothers “we salute the rank, not the man”)

  10. Czabe-
    Common Sense ship has long set sail. I am afraid what may have been a real protest of police brutality- I think that’s what Kaep was getting at- will turn into a look at me moment. Just look at who the owners stood next to during the anthem- it wasn’t the practice squad guys. Pants and picnic guy made sure his mug was shown. As for Potus- someone just needs to buy twitter and all it’s debt, and destroy it. Of course if the increase our tweets to 240 characters then it can stay!

  11. This was a just a clever ruse by Trump to help his billionaire friends increase their ratings, thus increasing their profits. He was blamed for the ratings decrease last year, several owners gave him money. Trump doesn’t mind being a fall guy, this is a guy who said he could shoot someone in the middle of the street and people would still support him. Open your eyes and wake the hell up, we are being had here. Players would do better simply ignoring him and standing whether they want to or not. He is controlling everything with these idiotic comments, ignoring him is the way to go.

  12. Well said Czabe, as usual. I agree with you and believe that they are primarily doing it because it “seems like the right thing to do” and it plays well in their social media circle. I also love your comment about moving on to the next thing that gets some all worked up will be what changes this current narrative. Which reminded me last night, while watching your Redskins, that just a couple of short years ago, nary a media member dare even utter the word “Redskins” because it was so offensive. Did I miss the memo that made it OK to use that word again? Because it sure doesn’t seem like anyone on my television worries about saying it anymore.

  13. I feel like we are revisiting the Flag-burning Amendment brouhaha from the early 1990’s. Sooner or later calmer heads prevailed and we agreed that, yes, it is protected protest, and yes, it is a contemptible display nevertheless, earning only the scorn of those the protesters would otherwise hope to persuade.

  14. How about one the 17 teams with QBs that have lower QBRs then Kaep sign him… That would go a long way to helping the situation….

    …But no protest is the right time for you Steve…There all inappropriate..Smh..

  15. Czabe,

    I don’t agree with your politics… and I certainly don’t agree with your opinion here…. but, you usually manage to present your views in a calm, reasoned manner. Even if I do vehemently disagree with them, I can respect you enough to agree to disagree.

    However, your radio stooge, Steve Solomon, is an unchecked monster in the making. His nasty, vile comments that he regularly makes on Twitter, are not just distasteful, but they have the ability to come back and hurt you if he doesn’t tone it down, because he is publicly linked to you through the show, and people who don’t agree with your politics but remain listeners because you, at least, remain respectful when you express it, do not want anything to do with Solomon’s schtick. They’d go watch InfoWars if they wanted that.

  16. You need to step back and see the big picture.
    Yes, fans are sick of the Left politicizing everything, which is partly why ESPN is tanking. And these protests add to fans’ dismay – we just want our escape and watch a good game, root for our team (so, who is it that’s divisive?). But the real issue is bigger. The Left is rewriting our history as a bigoted, racist imperial nation founded by stealing lands and pillaging the natives. They’re trying to ram this white privilege BS down our throats. Misinformed, ignorant players are the useful idiots, as is Goodell. By allowing the players’ protest to continue and grow (before Trump’s remarks), the NFL was sanctioning this leftist tripe. Our kids are being fed this crap in schools and by Hollywood. We’re fed up. Yeah, Trump is thin-skinned, boorish, crude but he loves his country, he wants us to be proud for what we’ve accomplished (in glaring contrast to his predecessor) and show respect for the flag and our military. Sporting events and honoring the flag/country/military used to be unifying. It’s the protesting players and the sanctioning NFL that is being divisive (and short-sighted).
    When the NFL rejects a request by the Cowboys to wear a sticker honoring the five fallen police officers, gunned down by a thug inspired by BLM heated, hate-filled rhetoric, and yet sanctions protests by ignorant players, you know the NFL has totally lost it’s way. If you want to talk “Divisive”, go back nine years when race relations were good, race as an issue practically behind us, capped off with the election of the first black president. What happened?

    I’ll just close by saying you correctly pegged Goodell long time ago as inept. The NFL was making $$$ hand-over-fist in spite of Goodell, but the owners were too stupid to see it. It’s too late now. The NFL will never be the same. Trump may have accelerated this big confrontation, but the trajectory was going this direction.

  17. Czabe, here is one of the few times I disagree with you. Acting inappropriate during a ceremony intended to honor and respect our country is the definition of disrespect.

    When it was only a handful of players that was fine, because I could disagree with those players. Now that the league has doubled down and says it is not just a handful of players, that the league is united with the disrespectful players to me that makes the league disrespectful.

  18. so the nfl allows this “protest” on the statistically false narrative of racial police brutality but wouldn’t let the cowboys honor 5 police officers killed by a black lives matter supporter

  19. I am tired of hearing sports reporters talk about this anthem nonsense. Just like the players are spoiling the game by politicizing it, you’re doing the same thing by talking about it. Please stop. If I hear more than 5 seconds on this I will turn off you and Bob and Brian.

  20. Czabe, exactly how much disrespect must these idiots show before you do take them seriously? You are trying rationalize why you continue to watch. Just admit you watch because you have to. It’s part of your livelihood. I’m just grateful mine is not tied to a league of uninformed thugs that have serious delusions about their importance in our everyday lives. Be careful, that fence you are straddling is made of barbed wire.

  21. I generally agree with the thrust of your commentary, save for taking athletes seriously. Athletes, and hollywood-types, should be taken seriously. If they wish to enter the debate, then their actions and behavior ought to be seriously reviewed. I certainly do not wish to stifle them. Let us get an honest view of them. Trump’s tweets and outbursts should be encouraged, too, for the same reason. Most celebrities, unfortunately, fail miserably at holding the high ground they seek in fairly short order. If it is not a leg being lifted, it is a tip jar (a certain cornerback) or some other shameful act. The League has peaked and is in decline, propped up by the gambling industry and a singular event at the end of the season. While I respect a person’s right to free speech, I think these Anthem protests are both disrespectful and inappropriate. It is akin to receiving an acceptance speech for some award and turning it into your time for social commentary. To the owners and the intelligentsia of the League, I say congratulations on receiving your award last weekend. Forgive me if I do not stand for the ovation. Like a good number of people I know, I will now move along without my once beloved Steelers and tend to my ailing father, a Viet Nam veteran, who is searching for the America he once defended. By the way, my Dad, like most veterans, never posed for pictures after serving and never had that perpetual, 6-year old “Look at Me” entitlement-ridden grin that pervades the gridiron. Veterans just went about their lives, building companies, raising families, lifting up communities, and trying, trying, to pass along the values upon which this great country was formed. Ok, I threw a few generalizations in there to feed the opposition. I look forward to reading the counter arguments in support of the League.

  22. I love how guys like Chris (above) on the far right have been suckered in by our Child in Chief to think this is about a lost election (that was most likely rigged by Russia and will lead to Trump’s hanging for treason) and completely ignore Trump breaking US Code. He’s blatantly influencing a businesses to fire employees! For their peaceful use of freedom of speech! Judas Priest! This isn’t Iraq people! Men and women have sacrificed everything so we can be free, not to be forced to honor a cloth and obey a dictator!

  23. The NFL is playing with fire. They did not allow the Cowboys to honor the ambushed police officers last year but are allowing this misguided hissy fit. It was started by a guy claiming to be against oppression while wearing a Fidel Castro shirt. Not to mention calling the police modern day slave catchers. Czabe, this has to be taken seriously because a lot of people are buying this nonsense.

    • Right on Scott – Kaepernick is not too bright. Whatever validity he had with his original intent to protest unarmed blacks being randomly shot by white cops, he totally lost, in my opinion, with the Castro shirt (idiotic), the Cop/Pig socks and the cops = 1860 era slave catchers comparison.

  24. This is one more reason I’ve stopped watching the NFL. I’m asking for the fans to stand united, and stop watching these whiny bitches. Then they MIGHT realize that we don’t give a $h!t about there personal beliefs, and just get out there and smash themselves into each other for our entertainment.

  25. OK, time to toss out a few thoughts.

    One, if these NFL dolts understood anything about their paying customers (players, owners and the commissioner) they would have done things much differently. Like instead of protesting during the National Anthem, do your schtick coming out of the locker room after half-time. Same camera coverage, and you risk NOT infuriating the people that pay your salaries. By staging your “protest” during our National Anthem; you appear selfish, and your mission is diminished by your lack of respect for the Flag, and the Americans that have sacrificed to keep this country free.

    Two, these protesting morons still do not realize that they are just a number. #12, football tossing guy. He makes us happy when he is winning, but other than that, we couldn’t possibly care less about him outside of the lines. When he retires, or passes along; we will forget him rather quickly, and cheer for the next guy who chucks the ball. You and your opinions do not matter to us. We have our own problems and issues to manage, without having to hear about your crap. You are (highly) paid entertainers – do your job.

    Three, I am so tired of seeing all of this fake “rah-rah, feel good” symbolism. It does NOTHING!! I (and many countless others) volunteer within our communities more hours per year, than these self-righteous idiots work. Go out and do something other than “raise awareness”. Educate, help, and make a difference. Locking elbows, kneeling, or putting a flag of France on your Facebook profile picture does NOTHING.

    Four, with NFL rules in place for the Anthem – why have no fines been handed down? Why does the ginger spokes-ape still have a job?

    Five, All of this will ultimately pass – like everything else in life. This is a most likely a short lived temper tantrum, like a child in the grocery store; and the NFL needs it’s collective ass swatted.

  26. Czabe,
    Please write about John Fox’s 1-2 start and how Tebow isn’t coming thru the door to save his ass again.
    Seriously? This Kyle Orton-starting moron is an NFL Coach again?

  27. These protests are nothing more than virtue signaling. Look at me and how much I care, but in the end these players do nothing. Sure some of them will do charity work, but most are having kids with multiple women and smashing those women when they get out of line. Most of these fools have been pampered most of their life due to their athletic ability, where else will a guy with no education make millions?
    As for the slurs against the Great and Powerful Solly, no can speak ill of Great Leader!! The Solly Nation shall strike you down!!

  28. All I know is that racist turmoil was basically behind us ten years ago and the NFL was getting bigger and better every year. Then we got Goodell and a presidential election.
    And misinformed, ignorant players are being used by the BLM movement, itself started by the Ferguson Lie, pushing a false narrative that leaders and corporations are afraid to push back on for fear of being smeared racists (the usual tactic of Dems & Leftists). The NFL owners have already allowed their league to be irreparably tarnished, but unless they get rid of Goodell things will get much worse.

  29. So tell me, who would be an “adult” in the White House? You must realize that Trump is a believer in Sun Tzu’s Art of War..everything you think where he’s popping off or being childish, there is a purpose. Look at the NFL now..they’re groveling. The players tepid arm locking Thursday night in Lambeau? Fans were NOT having any of it. And North Korea? They are so weak they don’t know what to do.


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