(National Sentinel) NFL Protests: Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rocky Bleier won four Super Bowl championships with his team over the course of an 11-year career, one season of which was interrupted after he was drafted into the Army in 1968 and sent to Vietnam.
Following his rookie season, Bleier lost part of his right foot in combat overseas and was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. When he returned home, because of his injury he had to fight again — to get back into the NFL.
He did, and he spent multiple seasons with one of the first NFL dynasty teams. But given his legendary play and his blood spilled on the battlefield, he is perhaps one of the most qualified players to comment on the current ‘social justice’ protesting going on in today’s league.
“It’s very simply this: This is a workplace, you are at the stadium, you are working that day, this is not a platform for protest,” Bleier, 71, told Yahoo Sports. “The American people, they can’t go to their workplace and start to protest about whatever may be happening in their life. That wouldn’t be allowed and that shouldn’t be allowed in the NFL.”
Continuing, he noted, “It’s not a violation of the First Amendment at all. You have off days, you can do it outside of the stadium or on other platforms, but not the gameday platform. It’s a very simple question and people are making it more complex than it really is.”
Bleier’s position is reflective of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who has said any of his players who don’t stand for the National Anthem won’t be on the field. But he also noted that players and owners shared the blame.
“The was a lack of leadership there on the owners’ side as well as the Players Association long before to nip whatever was coming down the road after the Colin Kaepernick situation a year ago, in the bud,” Bleier said. “It should never have gotten to this point, nobody has stepped up to say ‘No, this is not what we do on game day.’”
“It was a year ago that Kaepernick took a knee, so if you’re the commissioner or an owner, you have to be proactive in saying this: ‘If it never happens again, fine, but if it does, what is our position?’” Bleier added. “Somewhere along the line, I have not seen the leadership maybe I expected from the commissioner and the owners in this situation.”
Liberal sports commentators are quick to say that the protests were dying out last year and early in the season, but that’s not altogether accurate: There were enough of them to draw the attention of President Donald J. Trump, who openly criticized kneeling during the anthem or sitting on the bench, and since then protests have grown exponentially.
The protesting — and the league’s inability to adequately address it, as Bleier suggested — has taken its toll. Viewership is down across the league and on all networks that broadcast NFL games, as well as stadium ticket revenues and sales of NFL gear.
“You can’t allow it to continue to drag on,” Bleier said. “Otherwise, it will be like an open sore that heals and if you peel off the scab again and it will continuously be there.”
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