SPOILER ALERT: This article is not another hot take on who should or shouldn’t be kneeling. There are plenty of those over on msespn if that’s what you’re looking for.
That said, the Washington Examiner is running a piece highlighting the fact that TickPick, an online secondary ticket market has seen ticket sales drop 17.9% this week.
While according to TickPick, this isn’t entirely unanticipated because ticket sales dropped about 10% after week three last year, one does have to imagine that there is a correlation between the media circus surrounding NFL’s decision to allow itself to become ground zero for the latest episode of the reality show that is “The Petty Adventures of Donald Trump and Liberals Who Think the Sky is Falling.”
This trend is significant. Why? Because it’s just the newest evidence that the NFL is slowly committing suicide. And it’s their God-given, red white and blue, American right to do it if they want to.
You see, the argument that’s been swirling around all week over kneeling or not kneeling is whether or not the players that are kneeling during the national anthem are protected under the First Amendment. This is a stupid, stupid argument, because if you’ve ever read the Bill of Rights, and have any understanding at all of how our Nation works, THEN YOU KNOW THAT THEY ABSOLUTELY DO.
Heck, if these players want to stand on their heads, run around in a circle and wipe their butts with the flag, they can do it. No problem, go for it! Knock yourself out!
BUT, let’s be very clear here on what the First Amendment actually does. The First Amendment grants the right of freedom of speech (and longstanding legal tradition includes certain expressive actions as forms of speech). This right protects Americans from being stifled BY THE GOVERNMENT. No matter how mad he gets, Big Bad Trump can’t send the army or the police or a drone or anybody else into those stadiums to make those players stand up and put a hand over their hearts. And Trump knows that.
However, the First Amendment DOES NOT protect Americans from private censoring of speech. This is the real issue here. The issue here is that even though they don’t have to, the NFL IS ALLOWING ALL OF THIS TO HAPPEN. And if they want to do that, it’s totally fine. They can put ISIS flags on all of their stadiums and it would be legal.
But here is where Free Market Capitalism comes in. Americans are turning off their TV’s and staying home from games. Why? Because they don’t like what the NFL has become.
Some people have enjoyed the NFL over the years as an escape from the constant yammering that is petty politics, the NFL no longer does that, so they’re cutting it off. Many more are offended by what they see as the NFL’s allowing it’s players to disrespect what they see as a symbol that friends and family have fought and died for.
Some are upset that the NFL has been bullying states that have laws defending religious groups from abuse from the LGBTQ movement, by threatening to withhold Super Bowl games unless those laws are changed.
Others are turning off the NFL and staying home because quite frankly, the games aren’t very good anymore. There are penalties and reviews on nearly every play now. The League loves these because they make more time to run commercials, but most people don’t enjoy watching games that now amount to legal battles with nerds fighting over their rule books on every play.
It also doesn’t help that for years, the NFL has been hiking ticket prices and forcing fans to buy personal seat licenses at stadiums built against the will of the people with tax money.
Ultimately, the NFL and its Players Association have every right to do whatever they want to do. If they want to destroy the most exciting sport and greatest entertainment product in world history, that’s totally fine.
They’ve been eyeing the edge of the cliff for a while now, and if they want to jump from being a wildly profitable entertainment business into the wretched cesspool of politics, I say let them do it. But we don’t have to go with them. And from the looks of things right now, it appears that the American People are flipping the channel, staying at home, and collectively saying “Bye Felicia!”