Monthly Archives: August 2020

Still “Standing:” On Professional Athletes, T-Shirts, World Wars, And The Flag

Hi Friends:

This may be the hardest time I’ve ever had with writing about a particular subject.

I’ve gone back and forth with this one, thinking, praying … just wanting to do the right thing.

The whole, entire purpose of my writing, and our efforts on social media, is “to bless, inspire, and encourage.” I pray every day that we’ll be able to “bless, inspire, and encourage.”

I make every effort to not be a “news commentary” or even to comment at all on “what is happening” in our country. I see, like you, “what is happening.” There are already so many “channels” out there that supply commentary, and, yes, so much of it is negative.
There is so much good in our country, the United States of America. There is also much good in other countries. Unfortunately, so often, when we feel compelled to write about “what’s going on” we are thinking of something negative, not positive.

So … when I witnessed the WNBA season opener, and saw the players-all the players-from both teams-walk off the floor, go back to the locker room, before the National Anthem played … I can’t put into words how I felt. I wasn’t expecting that … it caught me completely off guard.

I wasn’t mad … I wasn’t angry … I was ashamed.

So, this is the hard part of all this. I so look forward to the WNBA season. First, it means Summer is finally here. Second, we are so familiar with the players, having watched so many of them … followed their careers in college … still love the women’s college basketball … In fact, I am wearing a college women’s basketball T-Shirt as I write this … So, when I saw both teams go to the locker room, so they wouldn’t have to be “subjected” to the National Anthem … well … I just felt sick inside. Real sick. In watching another WNBA game this “opening” weekend, I saw an entire WNBA team kneel, arms locked in unison, while the National Anthem played.

I have written much about my feelings toward the NFL (No Flag Loyalty) for refusing to even air the National Anthem (except maybe on Thanksgiving and Super Bowl) during an NFL (No Flag Loyalty) regular season game. Well … guess what? The WNBA hasn’t aired our National Anthem so far … and, it’s not looking any better for tomorrow.

I still, and I mean I still, don’t understand why an American citizen would not stand for our National Anthem, or would leave the field before the Anthem is played. That’s pretty much it. I just don’t understand why. And then, I don’t understand why, and I mean I still, don’t understand why someone who is an American would support someone who would not stand for our National Anthem, or support someone who would leave the field before the Anthem is played.

I never thought I would ever see the day when this would even be an issue.
Last I heard … a particular individual who gained fame for kneeling during the Anthem would, one day, be considered a hero. I hope I never see that day. But, I never thought I’d see this day, either.  

By the way, the play-by-play announcer, whom I do have much respect and admiration for, would, later, go out of his way to clarify: The WNBA teams left the floor before our National Anthem was played-and not during/or when our National Anthem was playing. He, however … did not explain what the difference between the two actions are. Meant the same to me.

I really was having trouble with this one. Should I write about this? The definition of a blog is “a website that contains online personal reflections, comments … provided by the writer.” I’ve tried not to do this, for reasons explained. However … if I wrote so much about the NFL (No Flag Loyalty) … should I … could I … ignore this? I really wanted to.  

I struggled with whether I should or shouldn’t.
Then … I noticed the T-Shirt I was wearing:

It features the soldiers raising the American Flag on Iwo Jima. I’m sure you are familiar with that image. Above the American Flag, in the sky overhead, fireworks are in dazzling display. On the bottom-right of the image, is written “FREEDOM 2001.” Yes, that’s how long I’ve worn this T-Shirt.

The American Flag. How many brave men and women have died or been injured defending it?

Yeah … I’ll stand.

I thought about this: What if we had not won the war? In this case, World War II?
What if another country won?
I guess I was thinking what if our enemy (enemies) in that war had won?
Would our highly-paid, highly-coddled athletes still refuse to stand? Would an entire team be allowed to just walk off the field of play so they would not have to be “subjected” to this Nation’s Anthem?

What would happen today, right now … in so many other countries, if an individual or entire team refused to stand for their nation’s National Anthem?

As you know, during World War II, and other wars before and since … including today … it was and is the direct actions of brave men and women willing to sacrifice their lives to make, and then, to keep, us free.

I believe I know what the rest of the world (especially our “enemies”) think of this situation where people, claiming to be American citizens, refuse to honor our Flag, and our country.

Remember, the Public Address Announcer, at the stadium/arena very clearly states:
“And now, to honor America, please stand …”

To honor America.
So … that is the purpose of singing/playing our National Anthem before the game … I see …

So, this would mean, if you don’t stand to honor America …

While I stared at my T-Shirt … I wondered … I really, really did:

What do our brave men and women, around the world (including here at “home”) think about someone claiming to be an American, who will not stand or honor our Flag, or our National Anthem? I really did think about this.

So, I made the decision that the right thing to do was to voice my concern over this issue.
As an American, an American citizen, founder of a company which has “Freedom” in its name, and as an American writer, I felt I had no choice.

Yeah … I’ll stand.

And, continue to wonder: If they won’t stand for our flag, whose flag would they stand for?

I have to stand. I understand the sacrifices which were made to gain our freedom, and I understand what the American Flag represents.

My Father, and my Father-in-Law, both had American Flags draped over their caskets. I saw and heard the 21-gun salutes. Heard the bugler and “Taps.”
The last funeral of a non-family member I attended was a close friend. He, too, had the American Flag draped over his casket. I heard the bugler and “Taps.”

I support the brave men and women of the Armed Forces, and their mission and work around the globe.

Yeah … I’ll stand.

I just don’t understand why someone won’t stand to honor these men and women, and our country, our Flag.
I do understand that they have a right not to stand, I guess. But, don’t they realize the reason they have that right … the reason they have that freedom … is because of the very country they live in? That this country, the United States, allows them the freedom to live whatever lifestyle they choose … and, to share that lifestyle with whomever they choose?

Why didn’t I just turn off the TV … I couldn’t … I had to watch Sabrina Ionescu’s (followed her in college) debut game … And … and … if I had turned it off, I would not have seen this:
One of my favorite former college players, which we followed her entire career, sustained an ankle injury, and was down on the court … Before the network could cut away … I witnessed my very favorite WNBA player … kneeling next to the injured player … and, she had laid her hands on her, and was praying … yes … praying … This was similar to NFL (No Flag Loyalty) games where, after the game, there are a number of players-from both sides-who gather in a circle and pray … Yep, as soon as the cameras see this, they quickly, quickly pan away, but I’ve seen it several times after a game …

I’m writing this between WNBA games. Yes … I am still watching … but I won’t tomorrow night, and I’m thinking about future games. I keep getting calls from our closest WNBA team, trying to get me to buy season tickets. I think, now, that I will return his call, so that he will know that, as long as his team does not “honor America,” don’t call back.

If more fans took this stance: We won’t support a team which doesn’t support America … you can bet that … all of a sudden … if it was costing them money … these sports would become the most Patriotic organizations on earth …
Once again, I’ll say this: While I no longer watch Major League Baseball, last time I watched they not only sang our National Anthem, but they played “God Bless America” during the “7th-Inning stretch.” Can you imagine the uproar if the WNBA and NFL (No Flag Loyalty) wanted to sing “God Bless America” during a break in the game???

Can’t watch baseball anymore. Seems like there is not much of a penalty for cheating … even during the World Series, which, like a lot of things in this country, used to be revered …
So … should we change their name to MBL to stand for:
Mighty Big Lenses
Might Be Lying

No more baseball for me. Already cut the season. Before you know it … they’ll try to cut the number of innings they have to play …

I’m in-between games, and I’m writing. As it gets close to the second televised WNBA game, I am switching between channels (ESPN, NESN, CBSSN) to see who is carrying the “late game.” I’m not making this up: ESPN was at the end of a MSL (that’s soccer) game, and they showed highlights of the game … the teams playing were from American cities (I don’t know much about MLS), and the highlights showed an entire team kneeling during our National Anthem. I don’t know … If they don’t stand for our flag, whose flag do they stand for? I’m sure a lot of people around the world watch soccer from ‘the states … I wonder how they felt about that … Anyway … they say “MLS is back,” but for me, if this is what they “stand for” (did I just write that?), they can stay gone …

I switched to NESN … that’s New England Sports Network … the show playing was “The Best of the 2019-2020 Bruins Season” … I’m not making this up … I only watched one highlight from last season … it was Lauren Hart singing our National Anthem before a Boston Bruins/Philadelphia Flyers hockey game … I’m serious … this was a highlight of the entire season … Not only did I stand, but I made a mental note to start watching the Bruins on TV …

Then … on ESPN … you know how they scroll the headlines at the bottom of the screen?
On the NBA turn, in bold letters, it proclaimed that all coaches and players had kneeled during our National Anthem before the game … Not sure if they played the anthem live or not … that would have been honoring America … I don’t know what the score was; that didn’t seem to be as important a story …

So, in closing, I still don’t understand:
How could an American not stand for our National Anthem?
I mean … how could they not?

Whose flag would they stand for?

Do we need to change the names of the leagues to:

WNBA: We Need to Be American
WNBA: Need to Be American

MLS: Don’t care. Maybe
Might Leave Shortly.

As I’ve written, I’m not angry at all this. I know we live in a world that is lost and dying.
I know that the problem with such issues is not intelligence, but blindness.

As an American, who proudly supports our military and soldiers (past and present), I believe it is the right thing to do, to “stand and honor America.”

Next thing you know, they will try to dis-honor our police.

For our friends around the world, let me advise that, when referring to “American sports athletes,” I am writing of individuals who play for an American city or American region team, located within the United States borders. If I told you how much money they make, for playing a game, while enjoying the freedoms of living within the United States, you probably would not believe me, and especially would not believe that they would refuse the opportunity to “stand and honor” the country which allows them to have such freedom, posterity, and privilege. I know, as we support the efforts of those in “hostile and restricted” nations, that, so many of you would be tempted to say, “Why don’t you come and live over here for awhile?”

So … If you to ask me if, instead of “standing to honor our brave men and women who are proudly serving our country both here and around the world,” would I prefer to kneel …

No thanks.
I am an American.
I’ll stand.
I have to.
I’m an American.

Richard. Vincent. Rose.