The Wednesday Show Prep

College bowl action continued yesterday when Kansas State outscored UCLA 28-0 in the second half to win the Cactus Bowl 35-17. Running back Alex Delton ran for 158 yards and scored three touchdowns. The Wildcats ran for more than 340 yards and finish the season 8 and 5. Meantime, Utah ran all over West Virginia 30-14 in the Heart of Dallas Bowl while Duke crushed Northern Illinois 36-14 in the Quick Lane Bowl. 

Four more bowl games are on tap today, with Iowa taking on Boston College in the Pinstripe Bowl and Arizona taking on Purdue in the Foster Farms Bowl.

The New England Patriots made a roster move yesterday, acquiring linebacker James Harrison off the waiver wire just hours after being released by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Harrison is the all-time sack leader for the Steelers, but he’s been slowed this season by injuries. The Patriots figure Harrison can help the Patriots defense during their postseason run.   

Harrison referenced Tom Brady on his Instagram page, saying, “finally… A teammate that’s older than me!”

There's really no way to properly address this story and its many tenets.

But whatever side of the aisle (politically, socially, spiritually) you happen to be sitting at the moment, chances are you've addressed this issue in one way or another.

First, the argument(s) for the anthem.

It's a tradition, we stand for the anthem. Been standing for the anthem for generations now.

It's done by baseball players, hockey players, basketball players, etc. It's been done that way for years now.

Except that wasn't always the case in the National Football League, and it's still not always the case in college football.

For the life of me, I don't know why. But until the NFL joined up for a marketing venture with the U.S. Department of Defense back in 2009, the standard operating procedure was that players, coaches, etc., weren't on the field for the playing of the anthem.

I don't believe it was done out of spite or anything malicious, but when the NFL found a way to make a profit from it, that's when things started to change.

Colin Kaepernick wasn't the first NFL player to not stand for the anthem. Marshawn Lynch, to most people's recollections, has never stood for the playing of the anthem.

And it's important to make the distinction between knowing Lynch never stood, as opposed to believing Lynch never stood.

Because quite frankly, no one really paid that much attention to it in the past.

Why would a player not stand? Does he not hear the song being played? Is he kneeling, sitting, is he talking?

Oddities in behavior, or changes from the norm are supposed to make us feel uncomfortable. The way a shock to the system alters one's way of reacting or thinking.

But when Lynch didn't stand, we just never noticed it.

I don't know why that all changed before the start of a preseason game for the San Francisco 49ers in the summer of 2016, but that's when the firestorm started. 

Kaepernick sat on the 49ers bench before the start of the team's third preseason game on Aug. 26, 2016.

The 49ers released a statement that night, merely confirming Kaepernick sat.

From then on, the fire grew.

The "movement", or protests grew a bit more in 2016, and continued well into this current season.

2017 and the current state of the union have clearly made this a divisive, polarizing debate.

And yet, no one has the answers to ensure a logical or even reasonable end to the debate or a satisfactory way to move on with this story.

Players will not, by and large, have the unanimous support of the league's fan base.
Fans will not stop being fans. But they will be loud, proud and they'll want you to know how they feel.
Players will not tolerate being called "sons of bitches" by a man so in love with his own ego and furious anger and unwilling to rationally listen.
And the league is caught up in the middle.

Why? Because they made a deal, one they're trying desperately to step away from without losing any more credibility.

 

Corporate sponsors are outraged.
Fans are outraged.
Pundits, critices, media types have their talking points and they encourage the debate, fanning more flames into the fire.

The anthem protests are the 4th biggest sports story in 2017. Because it's a story that has no end and its placement as the 4th biggest story should serve as a reminder that the national anthem is not a sport. Standing up and removing one's hat is not a sport. Mouthing the lyrics to a song is not a sport.

Chastising those who refuse to do those things.... also not a sport.

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