The National Football League is a glass house that was cracking well before Donald Trump’s criticism of players who refuse to stand during the national anthem. The NFL earned an estimated $14 billion last year. But 500-channel television, Internet live streaming, video games, and all sorts of other televised sports have combined to threaten the league’s monopoly on weekend entertainment — even before recent controversies. It has become a fad for many players not to stand for the anthem. But it is also becoming a trend for irate fans not to watch the NFL at all. Multimillionaire young players, mostly in their 20s, often cannot quite explain why they have become so furious at emblems of the country in which they are doing so well. Their gripes at best seem episodic and are often without supporting data. Are they mad at supposedly inordinate police brutality toward black citizens, or racial disparity caused by bias, or the perceived vulgarity of President Donald Trump? The result, fairly or not, is that a lot of viewers do not understand why so many young, rich players show such disrespect for their country — and, by extension, insult their far poorer fans, whose loyal support has helped pay their salaries. ESPN talking heads and network TV analysts do not help. They often pose as social-justice warriors, but they are ill-equipped to offer sermons to fans on their ethical shortcomings that have nothing to do with football. In truth, the NFL’s hard-core fan base is not composed of bicoastal hipsters. Rather, the league’s fan base is formed mostly by red-state Americans — and many of them are becoming increasingly turned off by the culture of professional football. Professional athletes are frequently viewed as role models. Yet since 2000, more than 850 NFL players have been arrested, some of them convicted of heinous crimes and abuse against women. The old idea of quiet sportsmanship — downplaying one’s own achievements while crediting the accomplishments of others — is being overshadowed by individual showboating.
Exactly!! And well said, Victor. Victor Davis Hanson nails it here in this outstanding op/ed. To read the rest of his article, click on the text above. Excellent!!