October 1, 2017

Tennessee Titans player Delanie Walker has one word for fans offended by players staging protests during the National Anthem: “Bye.” And a few more words: “I mean, if you feel that’s something, we’re disrespecting you, don’t come to the game. You don’t have to. No one’s telling you to come to the game. It’s your freedom of choice to do that.”

As I’ve pointed out before, all the arguments about the First Amendment, the importance of the issue, how passionately the players feel, etc., are irrelevant. The players have a First Amendment right to protest anything they want when they’re off the clock. But the NFL is a business. It has an employee manual that mandates in detail how to behave during the National Anthem, and player contracts that state that behavior that harms support for the team is a contract violation.

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If a grocery checker insisted on lecturing you about veganism before ringing up your hamburger, you’d demand he or she be fired. So what makes stadiums different from every other workplace in America – aside from the fact they’re largely underwritten by taxpayers, which makes the partisan political statements even more inappropriate?

League officials and team owners are likely clutching their chests right about now at the thought of all the furious fans saying “Bye” in return. They should ponder what they’ve wrought by kneeling in “solidarity” with employees who are now actually telling their paying customers to stay home if they don’t like having political messages forced on them during the National Anthem. Funny, I thought the reason everyone came to the stadium – fans and players alike – was to participate in a football game. If it’s now more important to have a political protest than to have fans, then why even bother to play the game? Why not just turn it into a three-hour social justice protest? Bet that’ll sell a lot of tickets. Or at least, maybe a few Che Guevara T-shirts.


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Comments 1-50 of 84

  • Nina huff

    10/22/2017 02:02 PM

    I believe that have a right to kneel.and i do not have the right to tell there employer how to treat them. I do have the right to turn them off and not watch them.please America stay strong do not support NFL in any way

  • Nancy McAlister

    10/21/2017 12:32 AM

    I do not watch football but if I did I wouldn't be watching the NFL. If they want to protest on their own time, fine. But do not do it when playing football and being paid millions by the very people watching the games and as I understand it, I am paying for them too thru my tax dollars.

  • Dr. James Thompson

    10/20/2017 06:49 PM

    The Bible says: Pride goes before the fall. The ignorant arrogance of those players "taking the knee" will bring about their immanent demise. The one knee that each of us will take one day is when we each bow and confess Jesus Christ as Lord. I love football but will no longer watch their games.

  • John wright

    10/19/2017 12:30 PM

    The taste the NFL has left in my mouth this season is horrible. We are still "One nation under God" and respect for life and one another is in our nation's fabric. I have given up on the NFL this 2017-18 season; I will rethink my decision next year as to my participation with the NFL for the 2018-19 season!

  • James R Lowell

    10/19/2017 12:14 AM

    Right, Mike! It never was about 1st Amendment rights, despite all the TV commentators statements to the contrary. It is purely an employment contract issue, and the league and owners are absolute idiots to allow the players to ignore very clear contract language. Hope they get some sense as their profits evaporate. Meanwhile, I am recording college football on Saturday and watching that on Sunday afternoons (after I get home from church, of course).

  • Don Zimmerman

    10/18/2017 05:47 PM

    I am through with the National Forgotten League. They are making a mistake by protesting during the National Anthem.

  • Skip wood

    10/18/2017 04:15 PM

    The players making statements to the fans about not coming to the games are supported by these outrageous financial contracts the player, agent and team agree to. If the player could/should be fired for not abiding by the words (not spirit) of the contract he would not make statements like that. The owners simply don't have the courage to make a stand with those contracts, as our politicians and corporate leaders don't have the courage to stand behind their contracts. It is a sad time in this country that I fought so hard for. Courage is a rare trait in American men anymore. I am still a Winston Churchill follower/believer. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER GIVE UP! I am done with the NFL.

  • Jim

    10/11/2017 11:12 PM

    Well said. I agree 100%. Furthermore I believe all pro sports players are paid way more than the value we get from watching the games. It's time for a pro sports course correction with no public funding. After all, even though it's big business to some, it is still just a game played for a couple of hours of entertainment and they are all way overpaid in my humble opinion.

  • Melinda Lucas

    10/09/2017 02:04 AM

    Hello Governor Huckabee, My husband and our oldest son are attending an NFL game on Oct 15th in Kansas City. Our son is a big Pittsburgh Steelers fan so he was excited to be able to go, especially since he is a devoted family man and doesn't often have luxuries. The tickets were purchased as a birthday gift by our grandson, our son's son, before the issues concerning respect for our national anthem had gotten so out of hand. Usually my husband wouldn't attend a sports event on a Sunday, but he and our son made an exception since it was a thoughtful and loving gift from a son and grandson. Now, since both my husband and our son love our country and all it stands for, a lot of the excitement has been taken away because so many football players refuse to show respect for both our national anthem and what our flag represents. My husband and son have finally decided that going to the game after all is the best way they can be an example of patriotism and respect. My husband served in the Army with the US Special Forces as a green beret during the late 60's, both of our fathers and my uncles and two aunts who were nurses, served during WWII. My Dad was awarded a silver star for his outstanding bravery. Now our grandson who bought the football tickets is in the Idaho National Guard and will soon be deployed as full time military. My grandfather also served his country during WWI so, here you have generations of fine people making it possible for these athletes to protest goodness knows what on the field and on the job. What I'm trying to figure out is how the football players who make 10 to 20 times the salary of their fans would feel if the crowd sat down, knelt down, and kept quiet every time a touch down was scored. Kind of takes away the glory and the pride, huh? Thanks for your continued efforts to keep America safe! Melinda Lucas

  • David Zullo

    10/07/2017 04:18 PM

    Recently mailed my New Orleans Saints "Salute to Service" jersey to Drew Brees along with a letter explaining the reason. Your site doesn't accept a photo of the letter. It reads, "Mr Brees, God bless you and your family. You are most likely destined to be known as the greatest player ever to have worn a Saints uniform. You were a sublime inspiration. As a Marine Corps veteran of the Vietnam War, burning this jersey is unacceptable because of the American flag on the sleeve. The same one my friends gave their lives for, and now your teammates have defiled as a flag of oppression. The shame of it is unspeakably heartbreaking and indelibly imprinted on my sorrowed spirit.

  • Dennis Corgey

    10/05/2017 09:43 PM

    Agree with you,sir.

  • Brenda Axman

    10/05/2017 09:35 AM

    I guess free speech only applies to those that make millions and think of themselves as "heroes"??? What about the free speech of those that stood up for their beliefs by not baking a cake for a homosexual couple? They lost their entire business and livelihood. They did not have the same rights? I have looked at the Constitution and I see nowhere that it says "Only applies to pro sports people and Hollywood elite". Perhaps if these so-called "pros" in sports and Hollywood lost their livelihoods this nonsense would come to an end. Oh and....TV camera people...QUIT PUTTING THEM ON TV and giving them any attention. They are entitlement minded and want it to be broadcast for all to see..."See me...I kneel because it gets me attention...ME ME ME!!" Just quit "poking the bear" and make it about the game. Maybe they would think differently and the fans would not be so eager to hand over their hard earned money if it was called WORK. Not as much fun to say "I'm going to the work today and have seats on the 50 yard line for it!" Upon reading the comments, the SIGNED contract needs to be upheld and the wimpy owners/sponsors need to enforce the rules. Every time the anthem is played at any and all sporting events, a service man/woman (or several of them or perhaps the child of a service person that lost their life) needs to go stand by the players (especially an injured service man/woman), I DARE them to kneel! *placing my hand over my heart, standing straight, and proudly tearing up as our great flag is flown and our anthem is played". (I think we learned this in grade school...grade schoolers act far more mature than the so-called adults "playing" a "game" or making "make believe movies" that so happens to be WORK!)

  • John W. Smith III

    10/04/2017 07:58 PM

    You will know them by their fruits. There are a few problems with the NFL, this one in particular is out in the open. It is also a reflection of our country. We have become a country of complainers, pointing the finger at everyone else but ourselves, while at the same time, those who are oppressed, are becoming more oppressed. We have turned our backs on God and have decided to follow our own lusts and desires, instead of following the Lord Jesus. The NFL has become a false God. It is one of the largest idols in the land. Now all day Sunday is consumed by football from morning until night. We were a country that worshiped the creator, on Sunday, now we worship the creature.

  • Vivian Turrentine

    10/04/2017 07:04 PM

    They make so much money that they only care about themselves. They need God/Jesus in their lives. As you well know, life is a series of ups and downs and their lives and minds will change when that favor of Yahweh God is lifted. It's a state of mind called entitlement. I don't watch anymore. This is all to be expected while man thinks he is in charge of his own destiny. Revival is coming then so is Yahshua Jesus, until then, wheat and tares will grow together. By the way, love and blessings to you Mr. Huckabee !!!

  • Vivian Turrentine

    10/04/2017 06:59 PM

    They make so much money that they only care about themselves. They need God/Jesus in their lives. As you well know, life is a series of ups and downs and their lives and minds will change when that favor of Yahweh God is lifted. It's a state of mind called entitlement. I don't watch anymore. This is all to be expected while man thinks he is in charge of his own destiny. Revival is coming then so is Yahshua Jesus, until then, wheat and rates will grow together. By the way, love and blessings to you Mr. Huckabee !!!

  • Carol Babcock

    10/04/2017 12:22 PM

    I agree with Elaine Wilson. And the games too.

  • Bob Gardner

    10/04/2017 12:14 PM

    I'm a Veteran & an American Legion member. My local American Legion club has been overrun by Liberals. I was in there tonight & I requested that Fox News be put on, so that I could watch it. As soon as it came on, a Liberal dissed Tucker Carlson as being an idiot. I said I beg to differ & he said "Wanna fight?". I said "Bring it! Unlike you, I fought for my country & I'm a Veteran!" (They let anyone in there, so that they can make more money). He whined that I was unable to beat his FAT butt. So I said "What branch of the military were you in?". He couldn't say, because he WASN'T a Veteran! So I said, "Let's settle this outside.", but his Liberal friends jumped in and ejected ME from a bar that I'm a legitimate member of, being a Veteran!!! So, I dusted my shoes off in front of the place, as my Lord & Savior Jesus Christ told me to do. Now let's see who has the last laugh!!! (“And he said unto them, In what place soever ye enter into an house, there abide till ye depart from that place. And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.”
    ??Mark? ?6:10-11? ?KJV??)

  • Elaine Wilson

    10/04/2017 09:08 AM

    Boycotting the game will not solve this, Boycott the companies that advertise at and during the games, also any company that uses a player for endorsement.... I agree they have a right, but not on my dime

  • Michael Egbert

    10/04/2017 08:49 AM

    Well then, if all the fans did as he suggested - went BYE - who would pay his exorbitant salary? It all boils down to the money folks....

  • Kirt Casler

    10/04/2017 07:56 AM

    If it's a First Amendment thing why does the NFL have taunting and excessive celebration penalties? Isn't that free speech? If it's a racial thing then why don't players at least stand out of respect for blacks (and all other races) that came home with the American flag draped over their coffin? They too fought for your rights and freedoms.

  • Cheryl Harris

    10/03/2017 11:58 PM

    This is the owners and the NFL management for the players to act according to the rule book and contract. For this player to totally disrespecting we the people and our flag is a move that should be dealt with harshly.

  • Jan Scobee

    10/03/2017 09:02 PM

    If they want to protest, it should be done at a different location and time. Definitely not during the National Anthem. To me, our flag has nothing to do with what they're supposedly protesting.

  • James Drury Jr

    10/03/2017 07:54 PM

    I don't believe the 1st amendment was intended to be used on these types of issues (against our country). Also if it is a race thing; lets work on it. starting with sports. Lets even them up.


    10/03/2017 06:37 PM

    We need to say bye to Delanie...because he needs to be kicked off the Titans team ASAP.

  • Desiree West

    10/03/2017 06:21 PM

    I don’t watch too much NFL but I did this Sunday specifically to see what attendance was on the games televised in my region and giddily, I observed what appeared to be about a 30-40% decline in the team in my state’s participation. Any replays from other games across the country showed similar empty seating. What grinds at me the most is that these NFL jerks, from Roger to these “protesters” are not taking the snowball effect that this ridiculous display is producing. Jobs are on the line and I’m not talking about theirs unfortunately. But everyone from the parking lot attendants to the beer hawkers at the game could be laid off due to the loss of attendance. How dare the protesting elite think only of themselves. I back President Trump on this one. Fire them!

  • nancy guyton

    10/03/2017 04:07 PM

    OK then......BYE

  • Jonny L Whisenant

    10/03/2017 01:42 PM

    Dear Mike,
    Even though it is a contract violation, it is also a clear sign of disrespect for the patriotism and respect that is being expressed by the people gathered there. "I am going to call attention to my disrespect for your values in the middle of your moment of devotion". It’s like a disgruntled relative coming to your Thanksgiving dinner, a time of unity and enjoyment, and intentionally trumpeting loud and obnoxious flatulence at the beginning of the meal to show disapproval over some issue in the family. Who can look at their meal in the same way after that, who can even eat unmolested, the whole …ahh ..atmosphere is ruined. It is simply a selfish act even if your err…protest… is in the right, .... that is unless they believe they are some sort of social prophets now. Any NFL players claim to be prophets lately? Or are they there now to just lose profits?
    Jonny Whisenant

  • Bob Peters

    10/03/2017 01:36 PM

    I'm sure someone has already stated something along these lines, but here goes. I am so sick and tired listening to these multi millionaires, whether it by athletes
    (especially NFL players who work less than 20 weeks per year) or Hollywood telling us what we should do or not do. None of you live in the "Real" world where the average citizens are struggling just to get by. If you feel that you or someone else is discriminated against or unjustly treated, then put your money where your big mouths are...Give half of your yearly salary to the under privileged. But I think I'd see the Second Coming before any of you Hippocrates do something like that. RIP NFL and good riddance.

  • Otis Mooley

    10/03/2017 12:08 PM

    The tearing down of a dynasty, sounds like a book title. We are still not sure what they are protesting about. If its equality then give us some iccidents and people who are doing these unlawful deeds and we will at least have an undersatnding. Instead of all the shock and no awe. What is missing is the truth about our flag and how it became a living being. The military instructs all who serve that the flag is a living being. This flag has been cariied on countless battle fronts. It stood on Iwo Jima and it stood on that terrible day when the British bombed our fort. Frances Scott Key went to the British Navy commander and was negotiating a prisoner swap. The American prisoners of war were in the belly of a ship and they could not see the battle and destruction from the British Navy. The British Commander said a shot would not be fired if the Americans would lower their flag and put up the union jack British flag. The Ameicans refused. The entire navy of England unleashed a canno fire that has yet to be duplicated on our soldiers. There target was to shoot the flag down. Evry time they hit it the men would gather around and hold it up only to be killed by the shratnel. And when morning came the flag tattered and torn was still there. When the fullness of the battle was known. There was a pile of dead Americans who were at the base of the flag pole. They gave their all just so they could send the message that we are Americans and we will not bow down to tyranny and oppresion. Befor you call our flagh just another piece of cloth remember it flies at cemetaries all over the world that are buried with men and women who battled vicious enimies and regimes that pray on the innicent, the discrinminated, the oppressed of this world and when the world oppressed cries it is their eyes tha are turned to America and the Red White and Blue for help. How dare you turn their blood and those countless families tears into a mockery for your petty undefined agenda.

  • David Wills

    10/03/2017 10:09 AM

    I am an NFL fanatic. I don’t know why the owners or Goodell puts up with it. I’m sick of this dishonoring of the Flag and I believe it’s hate speech. I say if you think this country’s so bad go somewhere else that lines up with your beliefs, wait there isn’t any place better. The opportunity that exists here is very limited elsewhere . Stand for the flag,take pride in being a citizen Delanie, in the best country in the world.

  • Betty

    10/03/2017 08:31 AM

    If you would hit them in the pocket book for their unruly behaviour then they would change their minds but it seems as if college football has a better grasp of the situation & the adults are acting like idiots. They get paid very well & we are hanging our heads in such disapproval over grown men not wanting to stand

  • kenny heroux

    10/03/2017 06:33 AM

    I don't believe athletes nor entertainers should express anti-american views on their respective "stages" even tho they do have the 1st amendment right to do so. When they do, "We The People" the right to with hold our financial support of these public figures and the corporations that support them. Hopefully the NFL and it's owners will feel the financial impact of their bad decision to support these malcontents.

  • Kevin

    10/03/2017 05:58 AM

    The Great Deceiver is once again hard at work and this time his minions are the NFL players who are "protesting". The truth is the NFL players are engaged in another great lie to cover up a horrible truth. That truth as we all know is the black culture. The Great Deceiver has once again convinced the weak minded that it's a hate crime to tell the truth, blames the cops for trying to make a neighborhood safe or white supremacist are keeping the black man down. Of course nothing is farther from the truth. Nearly 80% of black babies are born out of wedlock, single motherhood is the largest group of the poor, drugs dealers are the biggest employers, gangs are the local cops and black on black crime is the majority cause of death for black youths.

    The Great Deceiver is furious that Trump and the silent majority is speaking the truth? You bet and in the end the NFL players will join a growing group of losers.

  • Firewagon

    10/03/2017 03:38 AM

    Bye? BYE BYE! I DO NOT "invite" you into my living room for some political display. You are invited in my living space to ENTERTAIN only. I pay my scheckles for a little respite from the mindless daily morass of idiocy! I definitely DO NOT need some "entertainer" regaling me with their perceived grievances - I have plenty of my own, hence the desire to forget them for a while! BYE BYE - you can sing cumbya while you play each other while "linked arm in arm."

  • Barbara Alexander

    10/03/2017 01:22 AM

    Obama is responsible for the BLM movement, financed by Soros, and built on a false narrative, that is never mentioned. Obama set the stage for disrespecting our flag and our National Antham, when he said quite soon after he was elected....that our Antham should be changed..............referring to all those bombs bursting in air....,,,,, the way that he put it. Remember? Obama told us he would fundamentally change
    America......Well folks, look at us now! Trump is working hard as he can. Thank God for our President!!

  • Michael Munoz

    10/02/2017 11:59 PM

    It's a shame we follow rules in work places, places we go, games we play. You all have rules in NFL BOOKS< to follow, yet in your rules it states you are to stand, helmet in had over you heart and yet you can't follow your own rules.
    Thank you NFL players who do stand for the Flag and Anthem in respect for our country and our freedom that we have. Those who fought and died for our country under the RED, WHITE AND BLUE OUR FLAG we say thank you for showing respect. I salute you.
    A Viet Nam Veteran.

  • Ann Ray

    10/02/2017 11:42 PM

    We agreed with you 100? We learned something as we didn’t know there is actually a rule covering players postures while the National Anthem is playing which the owners and the NFL are not bothering to enforce. AND we laughed ourselves silly at your analogies. Tom is an avid football fan. But he turns off each game when any players are not standing and when some of the players are standing with their arms locked with each other! Thank you Mike.

  • Mary Gerardi

    10/02/2017 10:51 PM

    I agree and have quit watching any NFL games since this idiocy started. Unfortunately, the NFL big wigs don't have the..guts to stop this, but they sure jumped on Tebow !

  • jennifer diane kelley

    10/02/2017 10:46 PM

    i believe the players are ewrong for not standing all of the way for the anthem as the song stands for our nation, america, and our veterans who have werved their time for us to be free and so why can our players do right? some loyal fans have already burnt their shirts and everything.

  • Debbie Graham

    10/02/2017 10:03 PM

    You can do what you want on YOUR OWN TIME....When I am watching football, I expect to see football, not
    protests. You guys get paid a 6 figure salary and up so you should be respectful of our Flag and National
    anthem. Anything less, you should be fined or fired!!!!! Grow up!!!

  • T Chess

    10/02/2017 09:30 PM

    To answer your question of what makes stadiums different then any other work place. Millions of dollars. They do not think they have to abide by or adhere to law, rules, or common sense. We have let them get away with breaking the law with no consequences because they are athletes for years.
    I go one step further and say that these legislators that are protesting in Congress need to be sanctioned too. They are protesting while on the clock. I do not think I should have to pay for their protests. I would not have a job very long if I stopped producing to protest my employer.
    These politicians also believe they are above the Law.

  • Debbie Harmon

    10/02/2017 09:23 PM

    Agree. I work for a major airline as a flight attendant. I am only allowed to wear a flag pin, holiday pin or service pin they gave me on my uniform. I cannot protest or stand up for anything while in my uniform at work. I can do whatever I want when I’m not working. If I don’t like it I can go work somewhere else. Unfortunately, their employers are allowing it. I won’t be watching football until it returns to being only football.

  • David Foster

    10/02/2017 08:20 PM

    The National Football League has now become the National Feminist League.

    The real hero's are the men and women who dawn the uniform to protect the rights of our national anthem and the flag it represents.

  • Dawn and Joe STREET

    10/02/2017 07:48 PM

    Pro-football players are Narcissistic, overpaid and felonious. Google their criminal records and the consequences are minimal and usual reduced and eventually disappear altogether. Totally overrated. Maybe they all have brain injuries from being sacked and hit so many times?? Not the bravest or the brightest!!

  • William Booher

    10/02/2017 07:41 PM

    I'm sure the team feels there are enough left-wingers out there to come to the games and support them. Logical? I don't think so.

  • Mr. Clair

    10/02/2017 07:02 PM

    Your words state the situation accurately. It is so sad people cannot see this is not about politics it is about deteriorating morality and good judgment. I have stopped watching football, one of my favorite things. The NFL has given in peer pressure and pure nonsense and has shown a double standard. When you lose respect for someone or an organization they have to earn your trust to restore your faith. The state of the world right now I'm not very hopeful. But I am hopeful about God being above all things and nothing escapes his attention. I rest in Jesus alone, not on the condition of the world. Thank you Jesus for setting your sheep apart.

  • Bev Rider

    10/02/2017 06:54 PM

    They would never have to worry about me going to another game after that. The football field is not the place for these protests. They should protest on their own time, NOT when they are being paid to play football. You can protest whatever you like, HOWEVER, when your protest becomes disrespectful to my COUNTRY, FLAG OR ANTHEM then you crossed the line. I lose my respect for you at that point. I will not support you disrespecting America and American traditions and values.

  • Carl Wilson

    10/02/2017 06:11 PM

    I only cheer for the teams to win who have all their players, coaches and owners stand with their hands over their heart when our flag is displayed and our national anthem is played.

  • Alan Swartz

    10/02/2017 05:32 PM

    He says BYE! I say don't BUY!

  • Nancy Reed

    10/02/2017 04:59 PM

    Right on! NBC broke away from Presidents Cup golf presentation...just when Trump was to appear. Felt sorry for Sarah today..nice to see some emotions from the government.