Yes, I know, we are deep in the heart of baseball, it is August, but that also means football season is about to get underway. Super Bowl champs, the Philadelphia Eagles opened training camp just today, and Moishe wants to know about those “ingrates” around the rest of the league.
He means those NFL players (in fact not the Eagles) who disrespect the anthem by taking a knee rather than stand like everybody else.
“That would never happen in Israel,” says Moishe. I think he’s right. I hope he’s right, though if leftists are the same in Israel as they are in the United States – who knows?
For instance, there was an incident some time back at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University where it appeared that Hatikvah was cut so as not to offend Arab students.
That does not sound typical, even for Hebrew U, and from the days when I was attached to the Navy base in Haifa, I remember everyone standing with pride for Hatikvah during the graduation ceremonies, which took place by the sea. I imagine among the cadets and their parents there were some leftists, but everyone stood as one big family.
Moishe joined that family when he left the United States some 10 years ago to make Aliya. He still roots for the Yankees in baseball and for the Giants in football.
So what’s up with the ingrates? What’s the latest NFL policy on the national anthem, which seems to change every month. Moishe wants to know. America wants to know.
That’s because this particular pattern of disrespect, picked up by players all around the league, has triggered heated debate. It is no small thing. It has divided the nation.
A player of minimum skills was skilled enough to play the race card.
Colin Kaepernick started it back in 2016 when as quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers he refused to stand for the anthem during a preseason game.
His gripe? “Racial inequality,” or so he says. Okay. But the vast majority of hate crimes in the US are committed against Jews and anti-Semitism is on the rise, but New England Patriots star wide receiver Julian Edelman never took a knee. (Nu – he says he’s Jewish and that’s enough for any anti-Semite.)
So the latest, as I read the rules, is that players are required to stand, but if they choose not to, they can remain in the locker room.
In other words, as some of us read it, they can hide to shame the country, when in fact they are shaming themselves, speaking of those players who were hit in the head too often and so forget that the Civil War is done, the Civil Rights Movement, also done – and the good guys, our team, won – won it for blacks and whites who believe in equal rights for all.
We believe in America, to say it simply.
Yet it is not so simple – is it? Some people expect perfection; too self-absorbed to realize that the United States is still a work in progress.
The progress has been astonishing, the proof of it right there on the field where more than 70 percent of the players are black and multi-millionaires.
Whatever the complaints, your country is your home. Some gratitude for this should not be too much to ask.
Ask, then, those who play soccer for countries which know nothing about equality. They stand.
I was among the billions who watched the FIFA World Cup. Two things came to mind. First, why do they need goalies? The goalposts are so wide, the ball almost always goes in. The goalie is usually at the other end, in a different time zone, and by the time he scrambles over there it’s too late and he falls flat on his face. Billions cheer. Billions groan.
But the biggest revelation, to me, was how they all stood for their anthems.
Of all the players representing 32 countries, how many would change places with our guys for a better chance at life?
Plenty, I’d say.
Yet they stand and honor their flags because whatever else, whatever your beef, you do not embarrass your family and your home in public.
New York-based bestselling American novelist Jack Engelhard writes regularly for Arutz Sheva.
He is the author of the international book-to-movie bestseller “Indecent Proposal” and most recently the two inside journalism thrillers “The Bathsheba Deadline” and “News Anchor Sweetheart, Hollywood Edition.” Engelhard is the recipient of the Ben Hecht Award for Literary Excellence. Website: www.jackengelhard.com