JOE BIDDLE: My Super Bowl protest

Official balls for the NFL Super Bowl LII football game are seen at the Wilson Sporting Goods Co. in Ada, Ohio, Monday, Jan. 22, 2018. The New England Patriots will play the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl on Feb. 4, in Minneapolis, MN. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)

I have never publicly protested anything in my life, except for when my wife asks me to take out the garbage.

Until now.

I am on record as saying I am not having anything to do with Sunday’s Super Bowl game between New England and Philadelphia.

I won’t watch the game, so don’t invite me to a Super Bowl party. I don’t want to know which team wins and what the score is. Don’t call me, or text me about anything having to do with the Super Bowl.

There’s a reason NFL TV ratings have dropped as much as 17 percent or more from last year.

I have to believe some of the slide was when some NFL players started turning their backs on the National Anthem. Some players kneeled when it was played. Other players sat down or stayed in the locker room until it was over. That was their choice.

Even some civilians joined the protests. One country singer sang the National Anthem at a Titans home game this season and after hitting the last note, dropped to the ground on a knee in protest. I didn’t recognize her name and I won’t be attending any of her concerts.

Some protesting players said they were concerned about how minorities were being treated in our country, especially minorities being singled out by law enforcement units.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell should have taken immediate action to hit those protesters in the wallet and send that money into troubled neighborhoods of the players’ choice, but Goodell has a spine of a chocolate éclair.

The first Super Bowl, I covered for the Nashville Banner was Jan. 25, 1981. It was between the Raiders and Eagles at Super Bowl XV. The Raiders won 27-10 in the New Orleans Superdome.   Oakland QB Jim Plunkett was voted MVP. Some of our military men had been held hostage overseas and were released that week. They were honored at the Super Bowl.

The most emotional Super Bowl for me hands down was XXV in 1991. The Ravens beat the Giants, 34-7. It wasn’t the game that captured America’s interest.

It was the first time every person entering the game was searched and went through metal detectors. Even the media had to go through the long procedure.

In 1991, the Gulf War had just started. The late Whitney Houston performed the best National Anthem I have ever heard before the game in Tampa. Veterans at the game and around the world saluted our flag and F-16 fighter jets performed a flyover.

There were lumps in a lot of throats, eyes watering when and after Houston sang. You can get on the Internet and see for yourself.

The Giants beat the Bills, 20-19. It was one of the better Super Bowls played. I think that event brought America closer than any Super Bowl or other sporting event has ever accomplished.

Some Bills players said there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. We have lost some of that type patriotism. It’s more about parties and watching the ads.

I know I have lost some of the enthusiasm and hype Super Bowls usually supply.

I’m sitting this one out Sunday. It will go on without me in this land of cell phones. Don’t bother taping it for me.

I’ve had my fill of those NFL players who are cutting down our country. A lot of our soldiers have died on foreign soil so the players can protest.

I agree there are some problems, but if those oppressed NFL players want to really open their eyes, they can move to Iran, North Korea or China and see how much freedom they will find.

 

Joe Biddle is a WKRN.com sports columnist. He is also a member of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame and a Vietnam veteran. Contact him at joebiddle11@gmail.com.