I’m sure you’ve heard that politics makes for strange bedfellows, but now I want to add to the cliché: Patriotism also makes for strange bedfellows.
If you’ve been following my column lately you know in my opinion NFL games are almost unwatchable due to the contest’s infection with leftist politics. The latest outrage is millionaire players and billionaire owners taking a knee before, during or after the national anthem to protest the injustice of a nation that has made the lot of them rich and famous.
Frankly, I wouldn’t mind a little more of that injustice myself.
In the past conservatives and patriots have been the Cleveland Browns of the culture wars. We are blindsided by a hit we didn’t expect and the referees (the judicial system) and the audience (the opposition media) gang up to render our beliefs hateful, racist, xenophobic, outdated, or whatever.
After the late hits, hits out of bounds and flurry of flags we slink into the locker room and nurse our wounds.
Naturally when the anti-America left decided to make a big deal out of protesting the national anthem they expected to add to their victory streak. Only they didn’t. Using the NFL to pick on the flag was a mistake because the NFL fan base isn’t made up of beta-male, pajama-boys and social-justice-warrior-women.
On game day they’re either issuing detailed mixing instructions for their kale latte, watching soccer on TV or playing Frisbee golf. NFL audiences are made up of conservatives, patriots and genuine Americans who love their country. For them, insulting the flag by taking a knee during the national anthem was a protest too far, one also insulting paying and watching customers.
This is where capitalism comes into the picture. NFL players may have taken a knee, but the ratings for NFL games have taken a dive. Advertisers aren’t happy about this. They will be demanding refunds from the league if eyeballs per game continue to decline.
Here’s where conservatives and patriots gain their strangest bedfellow. The protests have been so heated that DirecTV has been forced to respond. For those of you who don’t get your television through a bowl on the roof, DirecTV is a "cable–like" company providing a television signal to homes that don’t get or want cable.
DirecTV is also like cable companies in that its customer service is often despised by customers. On the review site ConsumerAffairs.com, DirecTV’s overall customer service rating is a dismal 1.5 stars out of 5 and one verified reviewer wrote, "You can never get to a live person and when you do, they have heavy accents and talk in circles so that you end up in the insane asylum after the call."
Yet adverse reaction to the NFL flag protests was so widespread and intense that ESPN reports "DirecTV’s policy does not allow customers to cancel their ticket packages once the season starts, but due to the recent [flag] controversy being so sensitive they are making exceptions. DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket package costs $280."
Conservatives and patriots are voting with their wallets and their viewing, and it’s having a positive impact. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has announced that all his players will stand for the national anthem or they won’t play. Other owners are nervously considering their response.
The national anthem victory proves we can win these cultural controversies if we will stand together (pun intended) and use our buying power and our influence to support our beliefs. Leftists should be on notice.
Michael Reagan, the eldest son of President Reagan, is a Newsmax TV analyst. A syndicated columnist and author, he chairs The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Michael is an in-demand speaker with Premiere speaker’s bureau. Read more reports from Michael Reagan — Go Here Now.
Michael R. Shannon is a commentator, researcher for the League of American Voters, and an award-winning political and advertising consultant with nationwide and international experience. He is author of "Conservative Christian’s Guidebook for Living in Secular Times (Now with added humor!)." Read more of Michael Shannon's reports — Go Here Now.