With Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma grabbing all the headlines for the past two weeks, the NFL has sort of tip-toed into the 2017 season.
Team owners and NFL executives were hoping America would somehow forget about the disrespect some of its players have shown the American flag over the past 18-months.
Well, not only have we not forgotten, but we continue to reject the league and the players who continue to kneel.
The 2017 NFL season kicked off the new season on Thursday night with a game between the New England Patriots and the Kansas City Chiefs. According to ratings services, viewership declined by 13 percent when compared to last year’s opening game, and was the least viewed season opener in five years.
The drop in viewership on Thursday layers onto the double-digit drop the league felt in 2016.
Sadly, the Thursday night game started with one of the K.C. Chiefs taking a knee during the national anthem.
— David Eulitt (@davidphotokc) September 8, 2017
The ugly behavior continued on Sunday.
In Cleveland, the Browns played a video during pre-game ceremonies that highlighted players express concerns about racial equality in America.
This was what aired on the big screen in Cleveland’s FirstEnergy Stadium:
In Texas, the Texans hosted the Jacksonville Jaguars. With both teams knowing their home states are suffering through the hurricanes, all the players chose to stand for the national anthem, and a massive flag covered the field at NRG Stadium:
But in Tennessee, the Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch sat on the team’s bench, as he did throughout the preseason:
Marshawn Lynch sat during the national anthem before today's game vs. the Titans. [Credit: AP Photo/Mark Zaleski] pic.twitter.com/bjZBE39o7W
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 10, 2017
Rams' Robert Quinn during the national anthem pic.twitter.com/FQUabSNe6E
— Paolo Uggetti (@PaoloUggetti) September 10, 2017
Brothers Michael and Martellus Bennett, who have been outspoken about why they participate in this movement, took different approaches to protesting prior to the game between the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers:
#Packers TE Martellus Bennett raised his right fist in the air through national anthem while brother Michael Bennett protested by kneeling.
— Ryan Wood (@ByRyanWood) September 10, 2017
I find it pathetic that these overpaid athletes live the American dream and yet, they kneel during the national anthem. Meanwhile, cops and first responders are risking their lives to help hurricane victims in Houston and throughout Florida. I wonder what the NFL has to say about their players taking a knee while brave men and women are fighting off 130 mph winds and massive flooding? Or even better, what would the NFL and their players say blame for the group of African-American teens who looted a store during the hurricane in Florida on Sunday. Perhaps ‘All Stores Matter’ should become a movement?