Sports teams ask a lot of their fans, especially in places like Green Bay. Where, depending on the time of year, a fan could get hypothermia while just sitting in his seat. However, one recent request the team has made of the Pack faithful has left fans feeling a little hot.
The Packers players, led by their quarterback Aaron Rodgers, issued a call to their fans to join them in interlocking arms during the national anthem. However, some fans have not taken kindly to the request. According to the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Packers Director of Public Affairs, Aaron Popkey, says fan reaction has been intense.
“We’ve had a steady stream of feedback beginning Monday morning and it continued into Wednesday. We’ve heard on both sides of the matter. We take note of their concerns.”
The fact that Popkey alludes to the “concerns” of the fans, would certainly lead one to believe that the “steady stream” of fan feedback has definitely tacked more negative, than positive.
The issue of anthem protests, already a hot-button issue, became an even bigger story after President Trump’s comments in Alabama last Friday night. Where, he referred to players who protested the anthem as “SOB’s,” and said he wished their team owners would fire them.
Those comments, led to a backlash from the league last weekend. All told, more than 200 players from all 32 teams protested the president’s comments in some form, or fashion. The Packers stood with interlocking arms, in their game against the Bengals. With the exception of three players who remained on the bench.
However, those demonstrations did not meet with universal fan approval. Steven Tiefenthaler, a Wisconsin native, Packers shareholder and 20-year U.S. Air Force veteran, told the Green Bay Press-Gazette exactly how the protests made him feel: “I am so ashamed of and appalled by the ignorance of any NFL player who would dare disgrace our Stars and Stripes or the memory of hundreds of thousands of fallen U.S. heroes who paid with their lives so that we may live free.”
Here, is a breakdown of how many players from each team protested, and how they did it:
— Dan Swenson (@NolaGraphicsGuy) September 26, 2017
Citing information from the Baton Rouge Morning Advocate, the Press-Gazette writes, “About 100 of 1,696 players took a knee Sunday, according to tabulations by John Swenson of the Baton Rouge Morning Advocate. More than 60, including most of the Oakland Raiders, sat on the bench, five raised a fist and 182 stayed in locker rooms. The remainder locked arms before or during the anthem, some joined by coaches and even owners.
“Some players who took a knee also put their hands over their hearts, but linking arms or holding hands while standing or sitting was more common.”
Laura Hapke, another Wisconsin native whose mother is a shareholder of the team, was shocked that the Packers would participate in the protests. Hapke herself is on the waiting list to become a shareholder, though, the team’s protests have given her some pause. Hapke said, “If they come out and say they are more into politics than patriotism, I’ll have to rethink it. It will break my heart, but I’ll have to rethink it.”
Hapke also had some really good advice for more constructive ways in which the players could protest, while letting the fans just enjoy the game. Hapke said, “If the players association would act outside the game, I think it would be great.”
I’m guessing there are a lot of NFL executives, perhaps too afraid to say it, who also think that would be a great thing.