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At Sunday’s Philadelphia Eagles-Dallas Cowboys football game, George Norcross, a Democratic power broker, was removed from Lincoln Financial Field for refusing to take down an Israeli flag that he hung outside his luxury box. Apparently, Mr. Norcross had violated the team's stadium policy of not allowing "signage containing any kind of non-game messaging" to be hung in the stadium. But we see non-game messaging all around NFL stadiums all the time. “Black Lives Matter”, “End Racism”, “It Takes All of Us”, “Stop Hate” are messages that have nothing to do with the game but are painted in End Zones and printed on the backs of the players helmets. So, apparently, there are some “non-game messaging” that is allowed and even promoted by the NFL, but others that are not.


The NFL defended Colin Kaepernick when he was making his political statements by kneeling during our National Anthem. This year, many NFL teams have decided to sing the black national anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” before games which is making a clear political statement. Commissioner Roger Goodell has said, “The NFL stands with the black community, the players, clubs and fans confronting systemic racism. We will not relent in our work.” The October 7th terrorist attack was rooted in racism, a hatred of the Jewish people. And the pro-Hamas sympathizers and those offended by the Israeli flag are also rooted in racism and hatred. So, the NFL is not about confronting racism and stopping hate because they just sided with some of the most racist and hateful people in the world.


This is the problem when sports leagues use their game day platform to promote political messaging. At some point, they will have to decide which politics they will approve and which ones they will disallow. If Mr. Norcross hung a ‘Black Lives Matter’ banner outside his luxury box, it is very likely that it would not have been forcibly removed and he would not have been evicted from the stadium. Imagine the backlash the NFL would receive from their own players if they tore down a BLM banner.


So, we are not allowed to show solidarity with a group of people who just suffered the worst terrorist attack since 9/11. The American flag was everywhere in NFL stadiums right after the World Trade Centers were taken down by pro-Palestinian terrorists. Everyone was showing their support for America and for those innocent people whose lives were lost, but the Israeli flag cannot be flown after they just suffered their own 9/11 attack. If the NFL views the hanging of an Israeli flag, not as a sign of solidarity with and commemoration of the innocent victims of that brutal attack, but as a political statement, then they are making a political statement of their own. The NFL is saying that there is another side to the October 7th terrorist attack, that the attack was somehow justified or at least understandable. They are, in some way, saying that the butchers who slaughtered babies and grandmothers in Israel have a point.


The NFL is worried about offending the pro-Hamas, anti-Israel factions in America. That’s why they cannot stand in solidarity with the victims of the October 7th attack. No one was worried about offending anyone by flying American flags after 9/11. Those attacks were universally condemned in America. But since the October 7th attack is not universally condemned, the NFL caved, and sided with the terrorist sympathizers and not the innocent victims. If October 7th is not seen one hundred percent as an act of evil no different than 9/11, if we are acknowledging that there are two sides to the story, then we are allowing the terrorists to win.


One may point out that 9/11 was an attack on America, whereas October 7th was an attack on a foreign country, and the NFL does not want to get involved in world affairs. Really? Isn’t the NFL playing regular season games in England and Germany? Isn’t there talk that they may hold a Super Bowl in London? Isn’t the NFL going to great lengths to make football an international sport and the NFL an international brand? They will get involved in international affairs if they think that it will spread the game throughout the world and make the league billions of dollars. The positions that the NFL takes on these types of issues are not grounded in morality or ethics or even in common human decency, it’s all about the money. If waving the American flag increases viewership, then it will be encouraged; if hanging an Israeli flag doesn’t, then it will be taken down.


Why do you think that the NFL has Breast Cancer Awareness month where the players wear pink during the games? Not because they care about breast cancer, they want to increase female viewership. That’s why during Kansas City Chiefs games, we see more cut aways to Taylor Swift than to future Hall of Fame Head Coach Andy Reid. A shot of coach Reid does not attract the female audience like Taylor does.


One may ask, if professional sports is not supposed to be intertwined with politics, then why is it okay to sing the National Anthem before the game? If standing up in unison to show respect and appreciation to the country that we live in, is interpreted as a political statement and not merely a statement of gratitude and unity, then we have bigger problems. The singing of the National Anthem is supposed to do the exact opposite of all these other political messages. It is supposed to unite us, despite our differences, under a common flag and a common set of principles, and not divide us. And that is specifically why Kaepernick chose to politicize the National Anthem. He wanted us divided and not united, and he has succeeded big time.


There was only one Major League Baseball team that did not hold a Pride Night this year, and it was the eventual World Series Champions Texas Rangers. I don’t want to read into that any more than to say, maybe the team that was 100% focused on baseball, and did not allow their game to become intertwined with and polluted by politics, ended up being the team that was locked in, united and played the best baseball in the most critical moments of the season to emerge as the Champions. Maybe that is what the NFL and the other sports leagues need to get back to, no more political or social messaging during the broadcast of the game. The true fans just want to watch the game being played, and nothing more.


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Judd Garrett is a graduate from Princeton University, and a former NFL player, coach, and executive. He has been a contributor to the website Real Clear Politics. He has recently published his first novel, No Wind.



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Sam Dehne
Sam Dehne
Nov 13, 2023

SPORTS?

Get yourself fired.

Get $76,000,000.

Only in Sports.

Oh wait! It's everywhere.. except for the common

hard-working Patriotic men and women.

Sam DNA Dehne

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Adler Pfingsten
Adler Pfingsten
Nov 09, 2023

Like many others I stopped watching the NBA, NFL and MLB long ago given the politics focused on the black subculture…and I will never again order a Bud Light.


Well written and spot on JG.

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Jack Hiller
Jack Hiller
Nov 09, 2023

I served in both the USA marines, as a grunt, and the USA Army as an officer during Vietnam (and I am pleased to support Trump's call to MAGA). I have given up watching the NFL and NBA over their racial hypocracy. MLB is also verging on becoming indecent. Well, at least so far I'm content to watch collegiate sports. Money talks, and fans will continue to walk, as attendance figures show.

W0oke managements must think their virtue signaling is cool, but it's only dumbass stupid and degenerated. Great post JG!

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Joel Deutsch
Joel Deutsch
Nov 08, 2023

Perfect!


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Judd Garrett is a former NFL player, coach and executive. He is a frequent contributer to the website Real Clear Politics, and has recently published his first novel, No Wind

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