Why Tennessee Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Diane Black Canceled Her NFL Season Tickets

AP James Kenney
AP Photo/James Kenney

Congresswoman Diane Black, a Republican candidate for governor in Tennessee, recently penned an editorial telling voters why she has canceled her NFL season tickets.

Black published her editorial at Outkick The Coverage on March 29, focusing her decision to dump her season tickets over the disdain that the NFL has shown for the flag and our national anthem over the past two seasons.

Black noted how excited she and her family were when Tennessee got its own NFL franchise and insisted that they were “first in line for season tickets” when the Titans came to town. “Sports have always been an important part of our lives, and having an NFL team in our city was a dream come true,” Black wrote.

But the excitement proved short-lived once the NFL seemed to turn against our country.

“That’s why I was so disappointed to see the NFL and its players disrespect our flag and our anthem during this last season,” Black wrote. “When Dave and I first saw these protests, we made a decision. We decided that our season tickets would remain in a drawer all season and our seats would remain empty. We didn’t attend or watch a single NFL game this season.”

The Congresswoman agreed that the players have a right to protest against the country, but she also pointed out that those who oppose that protest also have a right to act. And in the case of Black and her husband, they decided to stop patronizing the NFL.

Black added that the disrespect that the NFL has shown the military infuriates her:

Every time I stand, put my hand on my heart and join thousands of my fellow citizens in the singing of our national anthem, I get choked up.

I think about my husband Dave, who served in the Marines and fought on the ground in Vietnam. I think about my father, who fought in World War II. I think about my son Steve, who served in the Persian Gulf War.

And I think about the millions of sons, daughters, husbands, wives, fathers, and mothers who have fought throughout our history to protect the values espoused in our anthem and represented by our flag.

Black acknowledged that the protesters say that their demonstrations are not attacks on our country, our soldiers, or our national symbols. But she went on to say this claim is hard to believe:

First, if the protests aren’t about the flag, the anthem or the troops, then why are they occurring during the singing of the national anthem, which honors our flag and our troops?

The quarterback who instigated the protests, Colin Kaepernick, was candid in his intent. He said, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” His protest was of the flag itself because he believes that the flag represents oppression.

I reject that. The flag represents the freedom we have in this country – freedom unlike any country in the history of the world. Freedom that was earned in blood and sweat and sacrifice. Freedom that demands respect.

Black also criticized the protests as a negative generalization of police officers:

Second, there have certainly been incidents of improper actions in law enforcement. But these situations do not justify the generic demonization of hard-working, dedicated police officers across the country.

The men and women in law enforcement wake up every morning and risk their lives for our safety. They go to work knowing that there’s a chance they may not make it home that night.

These are people worth honoring, not insulting.

Black added that it is fairly clear that a large number of Americans agree with her since the NFL’s TV ratings have cratered and stadiums have been half empty all across the nation. With the shunning, she noted that she, her family, and millions of Americans have let the NFL hear their voice loud and clear.

“For now, my family has decided that we’ll spend Sunday afternoons fishing instead of attending Titans games,” Black wrote was she warmed to her conclusion. “And that will continue until the NFL and its players show due respect for The star spangled banner that waves for the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

The candidate for governor told voters that she sent the Tennessee Titans a letter explaining why she was not renewing her season tickets and urged Americans to follow her example and tell the NFL why they are no longer interested in professional football.

“If you agree and want to support our troops and police,” Black concluded, “we hope you will find your own way to make your voice heard with us. The people who defend us deserve our thanks.”

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.


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