The NFL has not said whether it plans to honor America or the 13 service members who recently lost their lives in Afghanistan during the Thursday night season opener between the Cowboys and the Buccaneers, according to the Association of Mature Citizens (AMAC).
Given the proximity of the NFL’s opening night to not only the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks but also the terrorist attack that killed 13 Americans as they worked to evacuate thousands from the airport in Kabul, AMAC Newsline asked the NFL multiple times whether they planned to honor the fallen at some point during the broadcast.
As of Wednesday, the NFL had not responded to that question.
Last season, the NFL began devoting an increasing amount of its pre-game ceremonies to celebrating social justice causes. The league removed any doubt about whether it would allow players to continue the anthem protests begun by former 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016, when Commissioner Roger Goodell apologized for “not listening” to players and encouraged all of their players to “peacefully protest.”
We, the NFL, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of Black People. We, the NFL, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the NFL, believe Black Lives Matter. #InspireChange pic.twitter.com/ENWQP8A0sv
— NFL (@NFL) June 5, 2020
In addition, the league began playing the song Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing, also known as the black national anthem, before games. The league further solidified its status as a platform for leftist messaging by stenciling social justice messages in the end zone and putting league-approved social justice messages o the back of helmets.
The NFL recently announced they would continue having social justice messaging prominently placed on the field and uniforms this season.
INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 13: The message “End Racism” is seen in the end zone during the game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium on September 13, 2020 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
As AMAC reports:
From a financial standpoint, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and team owners – or, more specifically, their pocketbooks – can hardly afford to further exacerbate the kneeling controversy. The league saw sharp declines in viewership throughout the 2016 and 2017 seasons that were linked to kneeling protests. While ratings recovered slightly in 2018 and 2019, a fresh wave of Black Lives Matter protests prior to games throughout the league last year sent ratings tumbling once again. Clearly, fans prefer their football politics-free.
Goodell was already unpopular among players and fans thanks to his botched handling of the so-called “deflategate” controversy involving then-Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in 2015. The commissioner routinely draws boos from fans every time he makes an appearance, even during 2020’s virtual NFL Draft.
As the kneeling controversy swept the league, Goodell further sullied his own reputation by effectively allowing political activists and radical groups to hijack the league to serve their political ends. Indeed, when the flag controversy began, he seemed to implicitly approve of coverage by the left-leaning ESPN and NBC that seemed to favor the protests. He then turned a blind eye to backlash against players like New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees who dared to say that not standing for the anthem was “disrespectful.” In doing so, the commissioner became for many just another rich, entitled businessman more concerned with cultivating favor among woke ideologues than caring for the best interests of the players – both on and off the field.
The NFL would not be the first professional sports league to hold memorials for the 13 American service members killed in Afghanistan. Both the Los Angeles Dodgers and Texas Rangers have paid tribute to the fallen. In addition, several high schools have also held memorials.
Whether the NFL follows their example remains to be seen.