CHICAGO — There is absolutely no doubt in my mind, and I would hope in the minds of all my fellow Americans, that to disrespect our flag, our national anthem and most of all our constitution is a sin not to be forgiven lightly or perhaps at all.
There is also no doubt in my mind that there is not a single player in the National Football League who has done any of those things, at least as it relates to the protests currently roiling America’s favorite game.
At a minute or two before noon last Sunday, I witnessed the most mind-numbingly ignorant, tone deaf, disturbing and depressing crowd reaction I’ve ever seen.
At the Pittsburgh Steelers-Baltimore Ravens game, prior to the National Anthem being introduced and played, the public address announcer asked the crowd to please join the Ravens as they took a moment to call for unity and equal justice for minorities in America.
When the Ravens as a team took a knee, a chorus of boos rang down on them as loudly as any crowd noise I’ve ever heard on television.
As they then rose as a team and locked arms to honor our anthem, the boos continued before slowly abating while the anthem played.
Tens of thousands of people in Baltimore, as well as who knows how many more in stadiums around the country, booed a group of truly impressive young men asking you to join them in a call for unity and racial equality, clearly done before the playing of our anthem so as not to disrespect it in any way.
Of course, these are the same Ravens fans who had no problem erecting a statue of Ray Lewis after he pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice in the murders of two young black men in Atlanta, a crime unsolved to this day, of which the victims’ families still believe Lewis was complicit in.
But now almost 50,000 of them have signed a petition to remove the statue because Lewis took a knee to ask for racial equality, or maybe it was just to pray, Lewis can’t seem to make up his mind.
It is not my intent to go after Ravens fans. Baltimore’s a great city, and most of them like most of the rest of us know what’s really going on here, we know how wrong it is and we just haven’t figured out yet how to fix it.
To dispute that there is racism in America, that law enforcement officials do not treat minorities disproportionately and that we can’t do better by our kids is to argue the Earth is flat.
To anyone who truly loves our country, our flag and our constitution, ignoring those failings should be an absolute sin.
And yet here we are.
There is not a single player in the National Football League who has taken a seat, taken a knee or raised a fist, that has any intention whatsoever of disrespecting our flag or our country.
They’re doing everything they can to tell you that.
Why won’t you listen?
They are brave young men, prepared to deal with your scorn if that’s the price they have to pay to make life better and safer in the communities they come from and the communities of others who deserve the same freedoms and protections as the rest of us.
I believe there is no question the United States of America was the greatest country in the world until November 8, 2016.
Who we are today . . . do any of us really know?
We take a knee to pray to our God, to propose to our wives and to honor those we perceive as royalty and the best of the best.
When NFL players take a knee it isn’t to insult, they’re doing it to honor our country and make America great again and even better than it’s ever been before.