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Thomas Gallatin / September 14, 2020

The NFL’s ‘Woke’ Kickoff

The few fans in attendance boo the teams’ blatant political virtue signaling.

The National Football League kicked off its 101st season in Kansas City, Missouri, on Thursday night, while the rest of the league’s teams played their first games on Sunday. But what in past years would have been an exciting start to a new season for America’s favorite sport was entirely overshadowed by woke politics.

In the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs’ Arrowhead Stadium, the 17,000 socially distanced fans in attendance were treated to a deluge of leftist political messaging. The national anthem was a prerecorded performance by the R&B sister duo Chloe X Halle, who wore T-shirts depicting images of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. This was followed by the players from both teams locking arms and creating a line across the center of the field for a moment of silence to virtue signal their “unity” for “social justice.” During the “moment of unity,” the scoreboard featured a list of social justice values, including “we must end police brutality” and “we believe black lives matter.”

The “moment of unity” deservedly drew the ire of the fans, who loudly booed the display because it’s not at all about “unity.” It’s about submission to leftist identity politics and racism.

Adorning each end zone was the phrase “End racism,” and on the backs of players’ helmets were further displays of NFL-approved “woke” messaging, including the names of various Black Lives Matter “martyrs.” The NBC broadcast crew did its part to highlight the BLM messaging, with commentator Cris Collinsworth proclaiming that he was 100% “behind these players.” He explained, “What they’re trying to do is bring positive change in this country that frankly is long, long overdue.”

The fans, however, are not behind leftist identity politics. Viewership for the opening game was down 12% from last year, and Sunday Night Football ratings were off by 28%.

The rest of the league yesterday featured the same sort of divisive displays. Most Baltimore Ravens players, for example, kneeled for the national anthem but stood for “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” which is sometimes known as the “black national anthem.” That tune will be played along with the national anthem at every NFL game this season. Other teams simply stayed in the locker room until after the anthems were played. Kneeling and “black power” fists were regular features.

The team that wins the Non Compos Mentis Award for “fighting racism,” however, is still the Washington Redskins Football Team. Yes, that’s now the team’s temporary name.

Yet all of this subservience still wasn’t good enough for the second-rate malcontent quarterback whose kneeling antics started it all. The unemployed Colin Kaerpernick fired off an angry tweet Sunday decrying the NFL’s “propaganda” while griping about how his buddy Eric Reid doesn’t have an NFL job.

The truth is that the NFL, like the NBA, simply refuses to acknowledge the fact that it’s alienating its own fans by pushing the Marxist BLM messaging that is explicitly political and blatantly anti-American. How long before a new non-woke league is formed where viewers are invited to watch simply for the love of the game? If the NFL continues at the rate it’s going, it won’t be long.

(Updated.)

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