By Ted Gay – @TedG63
Mookie Betts is the most popular player on the Red Sox; there is little he could do to turn the Boston faithful against him. But what if he knelt during the National Anthem?
I am not saying he would. Betts has never shown an inclination to take such an action. The question is not about Betts. It is purely a hypothetical question. And the answer is personal to each person.
I was not raised in a patriotic household. My father held a grudge when he got drafted to fight in the Korean War despite being his mother’s sole support, which made him ineligible for service. But, his liberal leanings and critical writings of the local government for the Taunton Daily Gazette inspired the draft board to bend the rules and send him to Korea for two years.
My father’s family arrived in America in the 1600’s. They were one of the many people who came to America after Plymouth Colony was founded. His family helped found Dedham where they established the Gay Tavern. In his later years, my father expressed an interest in going to Dedham and asking if anyone knew where the Gay Tavern was. I put him off, certain the reality of the tavern would not meet his expectations.
My mother’s family were second-generation immigrants from Portugal, and she was more patriotic than my father. I think having relatives who remembered what it was like before coming to America caused mother’s family to appreciate the United States more. When my parents first met at the Gazette after he got home from the war, she thought he was a Communist. But she married him anyway.
America’s infallibility was never a topic in our household. We were taught to not trust the government. In many ways, my father was before his time.
And yet I still find players who kneel during the National Anthem unsettling. I understand the reason it is being done, but like the neighbor who doesn’t mow their lawn regularly I wish they took a different course of action, but I am not passionate enough about the issue to confront them
Football and baseball exist in two separate worlds. Roger Clemens is forever a cheat for taking steroids, Julian Edelman is a hell of a competitor who deserves to be in the Hall of Fame even if he did take Human Growth Hormones.
When NFL players take a knee during the anthem, they are standing with dozens of their peers far away from the fans. There is strength in numbers, especially while protesting. It is one thing for Michael Bennett, in a long line of players, to kneel, it is another for Betts, alone in right field, closer to the fans than teammates, to do it.
Personally, I would prefer players stood at attention, as well as the spectators, and the other people who work for the team, which means, from the first note of the Star Spangled Banner, the concession stand workers stop selling, and stand at attention. But this will never happen. It’s 2018. It used to be God and country. Now it is money, God, and country. If an NFL dared to demand, all their employees respect the flag including the one taking in money I would feel more strongly about their patriotism.
What does it take for a fan to turn his back on a favorite player? Is it ignoring the National Anthem, assaulting women, performance-enhancing drugs, recreational drugs? Is there a right or wrong answer. I think it depends on how you were raised and your life experiences. As with all complex issues nothing is black and white.
As for me, if Mookie Betts knelt tomorrow, I would support his right to do so, while wishing he hadn’t done it.
How would you feel?
ICYMI: EPISODE 52 OF THE AVIDBOSTON PODCAST!!!
SOX TROUNCE THE TIGERS!
WHATS REALLY GOING ON W/ MOOKIE BETTS?
SOX CATCHING SITUATION
YANKEES TRADE SCENARIOS
Also available on iTunes!