The NFL, Our Flag & Customers…

The NFL players’ antics involving the flag has apparently cost the NFL and its franchisees…and eventually, the players whose antics have impacted the league.  I think many, if not most, felt that this would blow over but it has demonstrated that it, as an issue, has solid ‘staying power’.

If you’ve noticed, the attendance at televised games, since that is all most of us see, is off considerably.  The drop is noticeable in virtually every section in the stands simply from the number of empty seats that we see in every game that is being televised.  Those seats are very expensive.  Those seats are typically occupied come what may weatherwise or contest wise.  Since television has deals with the entire league, I presume that what I see in the Milwaukee/Green Bay marketplace is similar to what others see in other parts of the U.S.  Even our Packers show some empty seats at Lambeau Field.  That was unheard of until this began.  I presume the same can be said for other NFL franchises.

Additionally, there is a ‘buzz’ that has not diminished.  If anything, that buzz has increased since this “tool” was first employed by the players…and, therefore indirectly, if not directly, by the union representing these players, has grown in its magnitude and in the general conversations surrounding the league.

This action has damaged and continues to damage the NFL ‘brand’.  There seems to have been a belief by the players and their union that this was a great way to advance their relative dissatisfaction with the league over whatever the issue of the day might be or might’ve been.  They are protesting, and they are using allegiance to, and respect for, our flag to show us that they are protesting.  And that was and is a BIG MISTAKE!!  A HUGE MISTAKE!!

The reality is that they are showing us over and over again that they have not the respect for the flag of the United States of America that you and I have.  Many of us have worn or still wear the uniform that this flag represents, and those uniforms have shown that they take precedence over the NFL teams’ uniforms.  Day in and day out!

Was this a true, spontaneous ‘grassroots’ uprising or was it somehow manipulated from behind-the-scenes?  Obviously, since it was essentially league-wide from the start, there was a behind-the-scenes organizing effort, and the only likely place for this originating orchestration is the offices of the players union.

This was and is a dangerous mix of politics and sports.  It has become apparent that it was dangerous because the organizing body and its members, the NFL players, is/are taking the heat.  Not all players seem that devoted to this action so it drives something of a wedge between players on the same team in addition to that between the players and the team owners.  That, alone, is reason enough to end the foolishness.

BUT, now the fans are showing their distaste for these antics by not placing their fannies in the seats that were already bought and paid for…and that ought to be alarming for the owners as well as for the players and the players’ union.  I don’t know what the TV viewership numbers have been compared to those at the beginning of this season, but I suspect those are probably also being impacted.

If this hasn’t been ended and the issues, whatever they were or are, solved before the next season, this movement could become likened to a tidal wave that sweeps away everything in its path.

A Jim Croce song well stated this in its lyrics:  You don’t tug on Superman’s cape!  You don’t spit into the wind!  The NFL players and their union would do well to heed this warning.  And, the owners would be wise to make this happen one way or another if they truly value their franchises.

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