Mac Engel

What the national anthem reaction reveals about America, and it’s not pretty

After briefly kneeling together the Dallas Cowboys stand for the national anthem before playing the Arizona Cardinals in University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, Monday, September 25, 2017.
After briefly kneeling together the Dallas Cowboys stand for the national anthem before playing the Arizona Cardinals in University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, Monday, September 25, 2017.

The national anthem and Old Glory have been politicized to the point where network TV, and now plenty of corporate sponsors, are running from both.

What will Lee Greenwood do for work now?

Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant said that this week there will be no pregame anything from his teammates before they kick off on Sunday against the L.A. Rams in Arlington, other than the standard hands over hearts.

That’s what the majority of the Cowboys want to hear, and so do Jerry ’n’ friends.

After casually toying with this subject, expect every other corporate sponsor and network that carries our local teams to flee from this issue, too.

But if the national anthem, which there is no need to play before a sporting event anyway, is genuinely so important to Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys, why is there is no set policy at the AT&T Stadium concession stands when it’s being performed?

Some servers will stop, while others may continue to hawk their goods as the custodial staff remains working while the song is played. Although, you can bet on Sunday they will all be stopping.

If the song means so much to so many of those who are so irate about this issue, why doesn’t everyone stop? Because we care when it’s convenient, and buying a beer and a hot dog sometimes is just more important than recognizing the flag and national anthem.

All of this noise, panic and over-reaction to a benign protest just confirms what we all know but refuse to admit: We’re still a giant collection of convenience-crazed bigots who preach acceptance and equality but, when it comes right down to it, don’t quite mean the totality of the American Dream.

Because it’s too hard.

The optics of America look fantastic, until you walk around the street level and see with your eyes our home has major flaws, too.

We were not the only nation to have practiced slavery, and racism and discrimination are problems in countries all over the world. But we are ignorant to believe that this does not remain our cross to bear today.

Most Americans don’t agree with the white supremacists that marched in Charlottesville. But what we do want is for everyone not to make a fuss, and just be happy where they are, with what they have.

We all love to complain but hate listening to complainers.

The players who knelt were never ungrateful about making six figures to play football but simply trying to call out awareness for people who look like them who too often are treated like garbage when the situation didn’t call for it.

Shame on us for being too narrow-minded to listen to the message, which is struggling to remain afloat.

Reaction to the protest movement has been so loud, nasty and disgusting that you can bet all of sports is going to slowly remove itself from the table on this one. It costs too much money.

The only reason so many Americans are upset over these nonviolent protests is because an average, backup NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and now a handful of other black NFL players, simply took a knee to raise awareness of something that makes a lot of us uncomfortable.

I don’t think Kaepernick had any idea what he was starting when he did this last year. In some of his interviews he stumbled through some misguided political musings that suggested he was in over his head, specifically when he spoke in glowing terms about Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.

Nonetheless, Kaep’s original point and his knee ended his NFL career as it exposed a truth that makes too many of us uncomfortable. Because it should.

Notice the NFL did nothing until President Trump called the players SOBs, and made some other unsavory comments about the league. Now that the league has stood arm-in-arm, expect the league to retreat back to the penthouse suite.

I spoke with high-ranking employees at a pair of corporate sponsors of the Cowboys, and employees at the local Fox, CBS and NBC affiliates, and all of them said the same thing: Leave our names out of it, because we can’t win.

Don’t expect much more coverage of the national anthems, which will allow us all to watch our favorite teams in front of denial’s warmth.

The NFL’s largest network rights holders, are all expected to not make a point of televising the anthem one week after they all became must-see TV.

Fox Sports Southwest, which has contracts with the Texas Rangers, Dallas Stars and Dallas Mavericks, normally does not televise the national anthem as part of the telecasts. Per a source, that aversion is all but a mandate now.

In the end, these are all businesses that are doing everything possible to ensure their customers keep coming back and spending their money.

Business says that it’s bad business to potentially offend the majority of your customers as, per the 2016 U.S. census, whites comprise 76.9 percent of our population.

While the decision to run from all of this is not dumb financially, it underscores a sad truth: We play the part of America and the American Dream more than we actually mean it.

No matter, the game is about to kick off.

Mac Engel: @macengelprof

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