TV host Mike Rowe weighed in on the controversy over NFL players protesting racial inequality by refusing to stand during the nation anthem, casting blame for the affair in every direction, but also stressing that it is the people who have the power to ultimately decide what happens.
Rowe, who generally avoids politics, made his views known in a Facebook post after someone wrote in to ask what he thought about the controversy.
He said he was disappointed to hear President Donald Trump "encourage owners to fire players who refuse to stand for the anthem," but not because he supports one side or the other.
Instead, Rowe stressed that the "president's comments presuppose that the owners are in charge of the game. They're not. We are. We decide what to watch, and that decision — far more than any other consideration — will determine what the owners choose to do. And that in turn will affect what the players choose to do."
Rowe wrote that "In democracies, we the people get the government we deserve. We also get the celebrities we deserve, the artists we deserve, and the athletes we deserve. Because ultimately, we the people get to decide who and what gets our attention, and who and what does not."
Rowe also criticized the attitude of the NFL commissioner and the players themselves. He said that although their comments "were perfectly reasonable, perfectly understandable, and perfectly in keeping with their First Amendment rights . . . they also were perfectly arrogant because they too, presuppose that millions of fans will continue to watch them play a game — no matter what."
Hammering away at his main point, Rowe wrote that "The fans of professional football are not powerless — they're just not yet offended enough to turn the channel. Should that ever change in a meaningful way — if for instance, a percentage of football fans relative to those players who chose to kneel during today's games, chose to watch something else next Sunday — I can assure you . . . the matter would be resolved by Monday."
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