In the United States of Murica we (still) have freedom of choice regarding our viewership of sports and entertainment. We’re not allowed to actually ATTEND any live events at the moment, but hopefully that’s just a temporary state.

But for now, we can point our remotes and choose to watch (or not watch) whatever we want.

Yesterday, President Trump exercised his right to choose and said he wouldn’t be tuning into NFL games or US soccer matches if the leagues allowed their players to kneel during the national anthem.

And the left had a cow.

Trump was responding to the US Soccer Federation last week repealing a rule enacted in 2017 requiring players to stand during the anthem.

“It has become clear that this policy was wrong and detracted from the important message of Black Lives Matter,” U.S. Soccer announced on Wednesday.

In a tweet, GOP Rep Matt Gaetz of Florida, said he’d “rather the US not have a soccer team than have a soccer team that won’t stand for the National Anthem.”

“You shouldn’t get to play under our flag as our national team if you won’t stand when it is raised,” he added.

“I won’t be watching much anymore!” Trump responded in a tweet.

“And it looks like the NFL is heading in that direction also, but not with me watching!,”the president wrote.

Earlier this month, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league was “wrong” for not “listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest.”

That is correct. We all have the right to peacefully protest. But we also have the right and freedom to choose.

You might recall viewership ratings for the NFL declined for two years in a row after Colin Kaepernick began his kneeling protest in 2016. Then some team owners spoke out about their players protesting, or networks just didn’t show the anthem at all.

Ratings went back up. Cause and effect? Who knows.

In 2019, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones pushed back against the idea that the league’s ratings were weakening.

“That’s such a misnomer, that our ratings are soft. They’re the hardest thing there is in all of television viewing,” Jones said.


Did you know it wasn’t until 2009 that NFL players began standing on the field for the national anthem before the start of primetime games. Before that, players would stay in their locker rooms except during the Super Bowl and after 9/11.

We could always go back to that. Keep the players in their locker rooms. But keep playing the anthem.

In 1945, NFL commissioner Elmer Layden said, “The playing of the national anthem should be as much a part of every game as the kickoff. We must not drop it simply because the war is over. We should never forget what it stands for.”

Unfortunately, some people seem to be forgetting.

The NFL and US soccer —heck, all major sporting leagues — can choose to do whatever they want at their matches and games.

But we can all choose not to watch.

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