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Say It Ain’t So

After the infamous Black Sox scandal of 1919 when eight players on the mighty and heavily favored Chicago White Sox were alleged to have thrown the World Series to the Cincinnati Reds, there arose a scene which is forever etched into the psyche of the National Pastime. As they left the grand jury room, a young boy was reported to have tearfully approached Shoeless Joe Jackson, one of the accused Chicago players, and begged him, “Say it ain’t so, Joe.”

Colin Kaepernick was the first athlete on a major sports team to kneel for the National Anthem in 2016.  At the time, he said that he did so to protest police brutality and racial inequality.  Since then the practice has spread to other teams and other leagues as athletes take a knee during the playing and singing of the National Anthem.  On the first day of the delayed Major League Baseball season this week, as thousands of baseball fans eagerly tuned in to get their fix of real live baseball, a number of players and one manager chose to kneel during the playing of the National Anthem.  Major League Baseball tweeted its support of the players who chose to kneel along with the hashtag “BlackLivesMatter.”

Say it ain’t so.

Angels relief pitcher Keynan Middleton was one of the kneelers.  As if to make sure everyone noticed, he also raised his right fist, which is the symbol of Black Lives Matter. (While I am thinking about it, before you declare your support for Black Lives Matter, I recommend that you take a look at their manifesto on their website.)  The fact that Middleton chose to kneel is not remarkable. What was remarkable, and more than a little ironic, was the statement of support from his manager.  Angels manager Joe Maddon said

“I’m very proud that he stood up for his beliefs tonight. I really am.”

Except that Middleton and the other kneelers did not stand up.  They took a knee during what is arguably the most solemn moment at any sporting event.

There are no fans in the stands to watch, but the players kneel anyway.  The only witnesses are those who will continue to watch baseball on any of the woke networks which will show the games.  The focus is not on those who choose to stand in honor and respect.

The practice of kneeling has become too commonplace to come as a shock to anyone.  It serves only to draw attention to the kneeler rather than to the causes they support.  Even if fans were allowed to attend games in person, does anyone truly believe that they are paying their hard-earned money to watch players kneel for whatever reason? Nope. The kneeling has become a sideshow within the larger sideshow that the newly woke professional sports leagues has become.

Many believe that the kneelers disrespect the flag.  Major League Baseball has weighed in on that suggestion as well.

To the contrary, it has everything to do with the flag and the military. I am fortunate to be able to do public address announcing for high school sports.  My National Anthem script says this: “Please stand as you are able, and to honor America and the thousands of men and women and their families serving at home and abroad in the armed services, please join in the singing of our National Anthem.”  To stand is to honor and show respect for the flag and those that serve.  To kneel is to dishonor the flag and to disrespect those who serve. 

Since the founding of our Republic, millions have served and hundreds of thousands of men and women have bled and died in the service of the country which that flag represents.  To all the Anthem kneelers, from Kaepernick to all of the MLB players who have chosen to make a spectacle of themselves, I suggest you seek out a Gold Star family who has lost a parent or a son or daughter or spouse or other loved one in the service of their country. Take a long, hard look at the US flag that has been neatly folded and is proudly displayed in that triangular box. That flag was delivered to that family by a member of the military who knelt, out of respect, before the grieving family and told them

“On behalf of the President of the United States, [the United States Army, the United States Marine Corps, the United States Navy or the United States Air Force] and a grateful nation, please accept this flag as a symbol of our appreciation for your loved one’s honorable and faithful service.”

The kneelers believe that they are being courageous to take a knee during the National Anthem.  Look that Gold Star family in their tear filled eyes and tell them why it is ok to disrespect them and their sacrifice.  Then listen carefully while they tell you about their loved one’s courage.

Please find another platform to draw attention to yourself.

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