Thursday night the Green Bay Packers players linked arms with members of the Chicago Bears during the national anthem in “unity and love.” Ray Nitschke, Vince Lombardi and Curly Lambeau must be rolling over in their graves.
Packers Quarterback Aaron Rodgers had asked that the fans join in. However, despite the CBS camera coverage that tried to show fans locking arms, it appears most did not.
Packers fans seemed to reject the Ice Anthem Challenge? Didn’t see many locked arms…
— Jason Whitlock (@WhitlockJason) September 29, 2017
Reports from social media indicate many fans chanted “USA!” or sang the Star-Spangled Banner louder than normal. There was even some booing of the players.
This video report from Fox News probably sums up the attitude of most fans.
And then we had a terrible reminder of the human toll of football when Wide Receiver Davante Adams was sent to the hospital after a hit from Chicago Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan. Typical of Packers-Bears games of years past, the hit was widely seen as an intentional attempt to injure Adams. Linking arms did not solve the NFL’s head injury problem.
If there was one good thing that came out of last night’s game, Rodgers game his game tickets to some members of the police. We do not know how Rodgers’ fellow Packers who were supposedly kneeling to protest police brutality felt about Rodgers’ action. Did they feel the love and unity?
But Rodgers undid the good he did with a statement afterwards complaining about the divisiveness of President Donald Trump. Trump spoke for many NFL fans when he said, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he’s fired, he’s fired.”
Rodgers said the linking of arms was, “an effort to show unity in the face of some divisiveness from the top of our country.”
While politics is always divisive, it was Rodgers’ fellow athletes who brought that divisive world into professional football and further divided us with the disrespect shown to the national anthem and the American flag. The NFL, the Green Bay Packers and Rodgers have continued to make it worse with statements that indicate that the league thinks it’s more important than the country.
For all of Rodgers’ mental toughness on the field, apparently the fans’ criticism is getting to him. He whined on Instagram about the negative reaction he’s gotten.
The Denver Broncos issued a statement that all of their players will be standing for the national anthem. Trump claimed on Twitter that Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones made the same commitment for this week. If the rest of the league learns from the backlash from the fans, maybe we’ll all be ready for some football again. Someday.
I would ordinarily be watching Thursday Night Football, but for some reason I’m not
— Charlie Daniels (@CharlieDaniels) September 28, 2017