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” Patriotism For Sale”: ESPN’s Stephen A Smith on How NFL Paid for Players to Stand For Anthem

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by G. Brown

You might not always like what ESPN sports anchor Stephen A Smith has to say or how he says it, but one thing you can’t say is that Smith doesn’t know the game.  As people continue to be in an uproar about the Colin Kaepernick led silent protest of police brutality, Smith steps in to share some little known knowledge about the NFL’s big patriotic push of the national anthem…it’s a paid for patriotism play.

Smith said on his “First Take” show this week, “Until 2009, no NFL player stood for the National Anthem because players actually stayed in the locker room as the Anthem played.” Smith says in 2009, the rules changed requesting athletes to come onto the field so they would be present when the the anthem was played, but they can choose not to participate.  Smith continues saying, “…it was seen as a marketing strategy to make the players look more patriotic. The United States Department of Defense paid the NFL $5.4 million between 2011 and and 2014, and the National Guard $6.7 million between 2013 and 2015 to stage on-field patriotic ceremonies as part of military recruitment budget-line items.”

So everybody is getting upset over Kap and other player’s “treason” of not being patriotic when actually the whole set up is a “pay to look patriotic” deal. Sure some of the players are probably standing in salute to the country and all the song represents, but how many of them would be on the field at all and standing for the anthem if not pressured to be there by the league?  So the NFL’s “long standing tradition of patriotism” is nothing more than a sponsored event like the half-time Superbowl show or the brand banners hanging around the stadium.

This should silence critics who wanted to scream “unpatriotic” instead of focusing on the reason behind the protest—that Blacks are facing horrendous acts of brutality by police in this country.  But the critics never wanted to observe the protest and probably will just brush off Smith’s revelation as another act of disrespecting the anthem.

Watch Smith’s broadcast below and let us know what you think…will people stop complaining about the anthem and focus on the real issue? Or is Kap’s protest already dismissed and won’t have any lasting impact?

 

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