Is this how we want the flag used?

The reason I always stand for the national anthem is because I live in a country that allows citizens not to.

It’s a small thing. A tiny group of guys decided to kneel on the sidelines of silly game that’s managed to become almost ridiculously co-branded with a blatantly commercial version of patriotism. But these little things, they add up. One by one, they chip away at what makes America America.

Donald Trump throws out a hundred lines a week to see what connects with what’s left of his base. One of those lines was an attack on Colin Kaepernick and the other players who protested police violence. Like a hundred lies and a thousand cheapshots, it turned out to be an applause line at a rally. That has caused players to get blackballed, rules to get changed, and the most powerful men in America to drop to their knees in the name of pleasing a lying autocrat who they once had the sense to bar from their ranks.

If you’re a white NFL player, lock arms with your black teammates and say no to this insidious new NFL rule. Don’t let a chickenhawk president and a spineless group of billionaires show you what it means to be tough.

Wouldn’t it be nice if these owners cared as much about your battered brains as your bent knees?

It’s easy to hide behind the flag and march bone-spurred feet to beat of false patriotism. It takes guts to defend what that flag really stands for — including the right to choose those times when that means not standing at all.

The NFL has co-opted the flag’s colors and theme to better market a wildly profitable product. Think that’s what the creators of the pledge had in mind when they referred to the Republic for which it stands? Isn’t this cynical and transparent use of the stars and stripes to add to the bottom line a greater desecration of the flag than a backup quarerback expressing his frustration about a couple centuries of horrifically unequal treatment?

If you’re an NFL fan like I am, then make a stand for the right of others not to. As long as this rule is in place, I’m out as an NFL customer. Every person matters. Every little thing counts.

Dave Pell writes a little thing called NextDraft. Get it Here.