College football officially begins tonight at 8:00 PM on ESPN. The University of South Carolina will play the Vanderbilt University Commodores in Nashville. Last year was tough for my alma mater with head coach Steve Spurrier resigning in the middle of a losing season. But I am a long-suffering Gamecocks fan. I am braced for another tough, but fun season. As opposed to my being a long-suffering Atlanta Braves fan enduring an abysmal, no fun season. Hopefully, the Carolina Panthers can salvage my year in sports.
But one of the reasons I am clinging to college football in general because the NFL promises to wallow in the moral gutter yet again. I knew the trend would continue when 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to honor the national anthem because he cannot salute a country with America's racial problems. I am fine with Kaepernick's actions as an exercise of free speech. But he has made himself a focal point for controversy for the entire season, and others are bound to either follow his lead or counter-protest his actions in an equally obnoxious way. Kaepernick has managed to drain out what little enjoyment was left for me in professional football. We need a few more class acts to join the NFL to make it fun again.
For the record, I disagree with Kaepernick in not honoring the anthem. America has flaws, and we should work to change those flaws. But it takes maturity to improve. It also takes maturity to recognize the good while working on those flaws. While I am not one to boil it down a trite “Love It or Leave It” response, I am curious if Kaepernick has seriously considered how many of the opportunities he has enjoyed in life are uniquely American.
I did not intend to go off on a rant here about constructive protest. I am going to go enjoy my heaping dose of sugary, caffeine goodness and wait for the game.