Former Chicago Bears legendary quarterback Jim McMahon denounced the National Football League’s “take a knee” protest Wednesday as disrespectful.
“I don’t think they should be disrespecting the flag or the national anthem,” the two-time Super Bowl champion told Jon Zaghloul of Sports Talk Chicago/WCKG. “There’s so many different platforms if people want to protest whatever they’re protesting.”
— Jon Zaghloul (@JonZSports) October 20, 2020
McMahon’s former team continued the NFL racial justice crusade during the national anthem before their game Sunday against the Panthers. While fans stood, removed their hats, and placed their hands over their hearts for the national anthem, Bears players kneeled while linking arms or stood with their fists raised. Another roughly 20 Bears players actually stayed in the tunnel during the anthem, including Eddie Jackson, Khalil Mack and Allen Robinson.
This season, it appears racial justice is the name of the game for the entire NFL ever since Colin Kaepernick’s “take a knee” protest has become politically fashionable during the Black Lives Matter movement.
Even NFL commissioner Roger Goodell dramatically shifted the NFL’s stance on protesting the anthem.
In 2016, Goodell said, “I think it’s important to have respect for our country, for our flag, for the people who make our country better; for law enforcement, and for our military who are out fighting for our freedoms and our ideals.”
In a June video from the league’s Twitter feed, Goodell stated, “We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all players to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the National Football League, believe that black lives matter.”
We, the NFL, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of Black People. We, the NFL, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the NFL, believe Black Lives Matter. #InspireChange pic.twitter.com/ENWQP8A0sv
— NFL (@NFL) June 5, 2020
“I think Goodell is doing a disservice to the league … he’s destroying the brand,” said McMahon. “What they’re doing I think is ridiculous,” and “there’s not a whole lot of fans right now with what’s going on.”
McMahon is right. Since the NFL declared war on patriotism, their ratings have tanked. At this year’s season opener — one of the few games to include fans in the stadium — between the reigning Super Bowl champs, the Kansas City Chiefs, and the Houston Texans, the Texans remained in the locker room during the national anthem. When the team emerged from the tunnel fans booed them. The booing continued as the two teams interlocked arms from one end zone to the other during what was supposed to be a “moment of silence.”
The Federalist reported that a September survey found there has been a “30 percent decline from American views on the sports industry a year ago, when the corporate sports enjoyed a net positive 20 percent rating, with 45 percent of Americans reporting a favorable opinion compared to 25 percent who said otherwise.”
When asked if he was concerned about any blow back he’ll receive for his comments, McMahon said no. “I’m sure I’ll catch a lot of grief over the social media, but I don’t care.”
“I’ve never been on Facebook or Twitter or whatever that crap is,” he added.
McMahon is pretty brave considering almost every player who criticizes the “take a knee” protest has been browbeaten into apologizing.
In June, NFL star quarterback Drew Brees backtracked after saying in an interview, “I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country.” Brees explained that his family’s military history heavily contributes to his feelings about the subject. After the Twitter mob viciously attacked him, Brees issued a lengthy apology calling his own comments “insensitive.”
McMahon said it was “ridiculous” Brees had “to apologize to teammates for his thoughts or for his opinions he said for people that served in the military.”
McMahon also linked his personal respect for the flag and anthem to his admiration for members of the U.S military. “This is one percent of our country that protects the 99 percent, and this is why we have the freedoms that we do.”