A dear friend has requested that I weigh in on the football v flag controversy.
I have to say that the whole brouhaha should be laid at the feet of the lawyers who drafted the million dollar contracts between NFL players and the owners of NFL teams.
Certainly, the players are American citizens and certainly, like all other Americans, they have the constitutional right to express their political opinions whenever and however they choose.
Unless they have freely exercised their equally sacred constitutional right to enter into a contract that limits their right of political expression.
Professional football is a very successful enterprise. It has become a national pastime; an important and powerful element of American life.
If you doubt that, I suggest you look at the economic impact of the Super Bowl; not only in the city where it is played, but in every city and town from Bangor to Chula Vista.
Football is a peculiarly American sport. Every high school and college has a football team.
And every city of consequence has a professional team which bolsters home town chauvinism throughout the land.
Not to mention that professional teams are economic dinosaurs that make millions for their owners and occasion huge expenditures by municipalities and their football mesmerized inhabitants.
The playing of the national anthem, and the raising of the American flag are typically part of the pageantry that surrounds a professional football game.
That’s because football is an American game. We love it. We celebrate it. It brings us together as a nation.
Certainly the owners of football teams must know that they are in a business that is not defined and delimited by a couple of hours on manly combat on the field.
They must realize that they are in the entertainment and recreation business.
And that the celebration of patriotism is as much a part of their inventory as offense and defense.
So I should think that any well advised team owner would insist on player contracts which require the players to participate in the patriotic aspects of their entertainment business.
And that would certainly include standing at respectful attention during the performance of the Star Spangled Banner.
If any team owners or their counsel should happen to see this blog, the old judge would be happy to draft the appropriate contractual language.
For a fee, of course.