The idea of professional athletes kneeling for the national anthem is not sitting well with a lot of sports fans.

With the NFL season scheduled to begin in a month, we already know there won't be many - if any- fans in the stands. There may also be a lot fewer fans watching the games on television.

The idea of kneeling in protest during the national anthem prior to athletic events seemed to garner a lot less attention last season. Few athletes were doing it, and the media spotlight on them was largely dimmed. However, in the wake of the death of George Floyd,  there has been a renewed movement across all sports lanes to kneel during the anthem in protest of police brutality against blacks and racial injustice.

By and large, NFL owners and coaches are singing a different tune than they had previously. Now, they are expressing support for players who want to peacefully protest before a game by kneeling during the national anthem. However, while there has been a general racial awakening across the country in recent months, many sports fans are determined to protect the sacredness of the national anthem.

I wondered if there had been a general change of heart about the issue of kneeling since the death of George Floyd, and so in a recent post, I asked listeners if they supported players who kneel, and would they be watching the NFL this season. One result surprised me, and one did not.

The one result that did not surprise me was the fact that 82% of those responding said they would not support players who kneel during the national anthem, while just over 16% said they would.

The other result was somewhat surprising. When asked if they would stop watching football altogether if players knelt during the anthem, 84% said they wouldn't watch, while about 15% said they are watching football no matter what.

It appears the NFL and its member teams have no intention to try and stop players from peacefully protesting, so if we do in fact have a football season, we can fully expect many players will be kneeling. We don't need to wonder if they will, so if that bothers you enough to make you stop watching, you might as well not even turn the television on.

Of course, I believe there are 3 simple solutions to the problem.  One is to ignore the protestors and to not now show them on television during the playing of the national anthem. Ignore them and they will go away.

Another possibility, which seems a bit extreme, is to stop playing and singing the national anthem before every sporting event.  If there's no anthem it would force these athletes to find a different and more respectable way to manifest their protest.

One other option would be for everyone to swing over to the players' point of view which is that when they kneel they mean no disrespect to the flag or to our military personnel and veterans.

The reality is, none of these three options is going to happen. Many players are going to protest, and many fans are going to be angry. Whether or not fans watch NFL football will come down to which is more important to them - being angry at the players or loving the game of football in spite of the players protest.

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