If time was measured in news cycles, it has been roughly 17.765329 years since professional football has graced our screens. But, defying all of the odds, and media narratives, the NFL season returned for its first game of the season Thursday night.
The game itself was surprisingly high quality, considering the lack of a pre-season due to COVID-19. Reigning Super Bowl Champions, the Kansas City Chiefs, took the field against a traditionally high-powered Houston Texans team.
That was not what caught the eyes of most people who tuned in, however.
Instead, the pregame “moments” of social justice stole much of the nation’s attention, especially on social media. The NFL had previously announced that they would be playing the “Black National Anthem," (Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing) as well as the Star-Spangled Banner prior to the kickoff of each Week 1 game.
The Kansas City Chiefs all decided to link arms for both of the anthems. Only defensive end Alex Okafor knelt with his fist up -- something that NBC's broadcast readily noted.
On the other hand, the Houston Texans announced that they did not want to show favoritism to either one of the songs, so they elected to stay in the locker room, emphasizing the importance of “unity” during this time.
Not long before that decision came out, the Miami Dolphins posted this video about staying inside for the anthems, chastising the NFL for its “fluff and empty gestures.”
This video was a microcosm of what was evidenced on Thursday. But more than that, this was truly the mentality percolating throughout the league. Even players are tired of empty gestures. In a sense, many are tired of virtue-signaling. But they tend to fumble the proverbial football after they make the declaration that they want action.
One second, players will say that this is not a left vs. right issue, but the next, they say that they need the billionaires’ financial influence to lobby politicians to enact “real change.” Players want to speak up about something, maybe even do something positive, but they simply do not evaluate their calls-to-action from a logical perspective.
And neither entity (the league nor the players) are willing to put together a practical or tangible list of policy items to be debated on their merits, which continued to show that they are not as serious about action as they would like us to believe. They do not really want to “listen” or “learn.” Instead, it seems that many just want to castigate the rest of the country as, institutionally and systemically, broken.
And their disconnection with much of the country finally bubbled-over during a moment of silence for "unity and justice” before the game.
After the anthems, both teams met at midfield to link arms in an intended gesture of “love and inclusivity” (according to the NBC broadcast). And at that moment, Arrowhead Stadium erupted in boos.
Was that the best time or manner for fans to tell players how they feel? No. In fact, that was probably one of the best opportunities possible for fans to try and connect on a human level with the players and teams. Coming together when the country is in pain should never be a negative (and clearly everyone is in pain right now, regardless of political affiliations.)
But that just goes to show how far apart this cancel-culture of virtue-signaling has taken us. And it also illustrated that there are plenty of people who are tired of elite society talking down to them, trying to take the moral high ground on issues that should be debated from an equal footing; tired of an elite society that infers that the public as a whole is racist if they do not agree with leftist political perspectives.