Protest? Fine, but put it aside and play

I’m a 22-year retired combat veteran, honorably discharged in 2013.

As a fan, when I attend or watch a professional match on TV, it is my chance to escape the problems we are faced within society.

I don’t care about an individual players’ cause – regardless of how good it may be, nor do I want to hear or see it during the hours I set aside to kick back and hopefully unwind. I pay a lot of money for the seat, consumables, apparel, parking, and most important, the time I invest to get from my house to the event and back home again.

I hold the NFL owners and leadership responsible for not getting on top of this topic. I think it was Jerry Jones who said something along the lines that his team was playing on his stage and his employees will be respectful of the current anthem protocol. I totally agree with that philosophy, but in light of these times, I believe the owners/leadership need to support their employees and come up with a means to give their players an opportunity to express themselves, whether it’s protesting or calling attention to the topic du jour. But keep it off my radar during the time I paid to watch the event. I’m the one spending my cash to be entertained. I’m not spending it to be forced to watch a protest.

As for the players? These folks are involved in great causes. Many of them bring a lot of flair to their cause. That is to be expected, so when I see some folks kneeling, raising a fist, however they choose to express themselves, I kinda expect it. They are high-profile personalities. That’s part of what they bring, but again, it’s not their stage.

I was not able to go out and protest in uniform when I was on active duty because of what the uniform represented. I filled the uniform, but I didn’t own it. I sure as hell represented it by my actions while wearing it.

If people, and I am talking about the fans, truly wanted to send a message; if people truly cared about bringing attention about to social inequality, then the people need to boycott a game. You want to see a reaction from the NFL and civilian leadership? Nothing would send a louder message than a silent CenturyLink Field on game day.

I’ve been all over the world and I am just baffled that in this day and age, people are still treated differently based on their appearance versus their character and actions.

– Mike Sechler

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