By Andy Weddington
Wednesday, 18 October 2017
Sports do not build character. They reveal it. Heywood Broun
This date 38 years ago I signed documents and swore oath into the United States Marine Corps.
Seems like yesterday.
A few months later arrived the day for a short airplane ride to Washington, D. C., followed by an anxious bus ride down I-95 South to Quantico, Virginia, for Officer Candidates Class 113.
Over the past few days I have been outside during colors and acted appropriately - as taught as a child - facing our flag and the music while standing still with right hand over heart.
I saw a photograph of three men in Maine, atop a steep pitched roof, stop work at the sound of our anthem, stand, and place right hand over heart.
Yesterday afternoon I watched as the remains of a U. S. Army Green Beret killed in combat in Niger came off an airplane. His coffin draped in our flag. An Army honor detail on hand. The soldier's pregnant widow, while holding the hand of a young daughter, was afforded a few moments before the coffin.
Imagine what was going through her mind.
Last evening I saw some footage of the NFL Commissioner talking to media following a meeting with players. He uttered something about "social justice" (which he did not define), bettering communities, and commented on the character of the players.
Character? Uh, no.
Intelligent? Uh, no.
The NFL is on the path to self-destruction and it's quite entertaining.
This morning I read an article about a letter, of apology, written by Jacksonville Jaguars president, Mark Lamping, addressed to the military leadership of his team's community.
Mr. Lamping spoke to the recent incident of his Jaguars kneeling during our National Anthem but standing for God Save the Queen prior to a game played in London, England.
Mull that over a moment.
Mr. Lamping wrote ...
"This was an oversight and certainly not intended to send a message that would disparage you, our flag or our nation ... The notion never entered the minds of our players or anyone affiliated with the Jacksonville Jaguars, but today we can understand how the events in London on September 24 could have been viewed or misinterpreted ... We owe you an apology and hope you will accept it."
How about a program drawing more citizens, from all walks of life, into the shared duty of uniformed service to country - so that some, even if volunteers, need not endure 6, 7, 8, 10, 12 and more combat tours of duty?!
The NFL, by revealing it has not character, has discovered its masters.
And those masters are making it clear a sports league of fools is intolerable.
And are unapologetic.
As to that letter of apology ...
Take that letter and roll, lengthwise, into a cylinder about the diameter of a No. 2 pencil and return to sender.
The reconfigured form should be clear enough as what next to do with that "apology."
Freedom is sweet. Bitter at times.
Military service builds character. And reveals it.
I wouldn't trade these past 38 years for anything, and sure will not compromise its meaningfulness by patronizing feeble-brained, self-absorbed athletes throwing a tantrum.
Bring back Roller Derby.