Non-standing argument could use some legs before games

By Rob Vogt Source:Global Times Published: 2017/10/11 23:08:40

Legendary American humorist Mark Twain once wrote, "Never let the truth get in the way of a good story." This axiom ­certainly applies to the current NFL issue - standing versus not standing for the national anthem - an issue that has been both oversimplified and misrepresented by the American mass media in an attempt to appeal to its many liberal-­leaning consumers.

One of the most commonly perpetuated elements of this story is that the players who refuse to stand for the anthem represent the majority view of the American public. Liberal American media outlets regularly cite robust Colin Kaepernick jersey sales as support for this claim. However, those sales have been surpassed by those of Alejandro Villanueva, the army ranger-turned Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman who chose to stand for the anthem amid his team's fiasco of a protest before the team's Week 3 loss to the hapless Chicago Bears.

The Steelers' cluster-mess of a "protest" epitomized how little solidarity the non-standing movement has. In advance of the Bears game, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin told the media that the team would stand on the sidelines, arms interlocked. Then the team decided to remain in the tunnel during the anthem, minus Villanueva and four coaches (Tomlin ­included), who stood on the sideline.

The notion of widespread support for the non-standing crowd would also seem to be disputed by the booing of Baltimore Ravens fans on October 1. Granted, the Ravens and ­Steelers players who knelt before the anthem were ostensibly looking for an alternative to the Steelers' screw-up the week before. The fact that so many fans were angry enough to boo an allegedly peaceful protest speaks volumes about the controversial nature of this issue.

Currently, the Steelers are 3-2, tied for first place in the AFC North but rife with dissent. The idea that standing-for-the-anthem protests are non-divisive and have no effect on locker room chemistry - ­another myth perpetuated by the liberal American media - seems like it could use some serious rethinking between now and the end of the NFL season.

The author is a Chicago-based writer.

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