Dear Colin –
I just got back from my son’s graduation from Army Basic Training. We are a family of Soldiers and veterans, and we have taken an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States. We have sworn to defend your rights and liberties. We have promised to protect every man’s sacred rights, without regard for anything superficial such as color, race, religion, or gender.
We uphold and live by that oath every single day.
There are a lot of people who are shrieking and screeching about your recent refusal to stand up for the National Anthem. I shall not do so.
It is your right as an American to be as abhorrent and offensive as you want. It is your right to display as much disrespect for this nation as you see fit. It is your right to protest whatever injustices you want.
That’s what our Constitution is about. It’s about protecting your right to be as much of an opprobrious asshole as you want and not face government prosecution. You will not go to jail for your actions. You will not be fined. You will not be punished in any way by the government for your display of contempt for this country.
That said, that doesn’t mean you aren’t going to be immune from the consequences. Consequences come in many forms – from fan criticism, to loss of sponsors, to censure from other NFL members – because the majority of people, fans, players, and coaches recognize just how lucky they are to be here, to play this game, to earn millions dollars doing what they love, to have the opportunities they have, their rights protected and their ability to speak out safe from government persecution.
Try that in many other countries, and you’ll find yourself in a cell.
Here, the worst that will happen to you is consternation from your fellow Americans. I guess you don’t care about that. Why should you? You’re making millions in a country that protects your rights – not always perfectly, not always neatly, but better than most. You’re playing a game you love, and you’re earning big money for doing so. You’re free to achieve your dreams.
And guess what! Thousands of courageous men and women died to protect this country whose flag on which you so freely defecate. I guess you don’t care about them either.
It’s sad that in your zeal to shed light on perceived injustices in this nation, you slap in the face every single person who has sacrificed for the very justice you claim to desire.
It’s a shame that in your blind hatred for the flag and the nation that has given so many people the opportunities most in this world could only dream about, you spit on every courageous individual who has volunteered to protect this land. You spit on me. You spit on my children. You spit on people I love.
So while you are free to show disrespect for my adopted country – the country that has given me and millions of others, including you, the opportunities you couldn’t possibly understand or appreciate, being the spoiled rotten brat you are – the rest of us are free to let you know just what a despicable, ungrateful disgrace you are.
We are free not to watch your games.
We are free not to purchase any product for which you are a spokesman.
We are certainly free not to buy tickets to your games.
The NFL respects your right to protest, as they well should. Standing up for the national anthem is certainly not a requirement, nor is it a law. Neither is respecting your fellow Americans who sacrificed for the rights and freedoms you so freely flaunt and the oppression you disingenuously claim while making millions of dollars as a person of color in this awful country.
But that doesn’t mean we have to like you, respect you, watch your games, buy tickets, or purchase any product you happen to endorse.
It also doesn’t mean that I can’t hope you one day grow up, drop the drama, and develop some respect for the country which has protected your right to be an asshole, even if she’s not perfect, and even if bad things sometimes happen.
This country’s flaws – whatever they may be – will not be remedied by a sniveling, spoiled, tattooed prima donna, who thinks his cheap tantrum on the football field will cure America’s ills.
Here’s hoping you grow up, even though I doubt you will, and here’s hoping that the acrimony you have sowed will impact your wallet.
Maybe then you’ll learn.
Hugs and kisses,
Americans who aren’t assholes.