Since I was six years old, I have been a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I haven’t always been a follower of football and it wasn’t until I was in high school that I really started to pay attention. And since then, anyone who knows me knows I have been a die-hard Steelers fan! But today, instead of my Roethlisberger, Brown, or Polomalu jersey I am wearing a shirt with the American flag.
This past weekend, a lot of players and coaches in the NFL decided to take a stand by kneeling during the national anthem. Taking a stand is wonderful. Taking a stand is what led the American Revolution. Taking a stand is important in a country that prides itself on individual freedom and the right to do what one believes to be right.
So why does taking a stand to these players mean kneeling? What they are doing is politicizing one of the last few things that all American’s have in common that had nothing to do with politics. Sports. We need to have something that takes away from the slamming of politics into our faces. The nation needs an outlet that we can all enjoy together without worrying about offending someone, or putting someone down. No matter what one’s views may be.
I am not angry. I am disappointed in the league and especially my team that is now making me choose between standing for my own beliefs and watching a football game.
But I am also grateful to live in a country where we can take a stand. Which also means that I can too. I choose to take the stand of wearing an American flag instead of my jerseys. I am also choosing to no longer watch the games until some changes are made and we can have the real game of football back from some political agenda.
What is not getting appropriate attention today is the fact that a lot of players were standing. In teams all across the nation on Sunday, players were standing and linking arms in a message of togetherness and patriotism. I am proud of those players. And I am extremely proud of the lone Steeler and former service-member Alejandro Villanueva who chose to stand and honor his service and the service of others while the rest of his teammates did not even take the field. His jersey sales have skyrocketed because of it. Those jersey sales are the voices of the American people taking a stand.
So, if you believe as I do and want to be able to watch a game without worrying about objecting yourself to a political message then stop watching, buy a Villanueva jersey, or write the general manager of your team. Thank the Lord we live in a country where we can disagree with one another. And thank the Lord we have the opportunity to take a stand instead of taking a knee.