Well, beyond a doubt, it’s football season.

For better or for worse, football is branded into the culture. Branding geniuses have taken a game where there is more standing around than playing and turned it into an obsession for millions.

Part of the branding ties the American flag and a certain concept of patriotism to the game.

There’s presently some controversy over this, namely, not standing during the playing of the national anthem.

A good starting point might be to ask why is the national anthem played before this major entertainment spectacle anyway? Is it played before concerts? Movies? Plays?

Football, more so than any other professional sport, seems to use a very obvious form of patriotism – huge flags, military personnel, fly-overs etc., to foster its brand.

And many folks were flabbergasted when they found that the military was paying the NFL for some of the displays.

To me, there’s something not quite right about a lot of this. Maybe a little politics in this.

And then there’s the players who have been crucified by some for not standing during the playing of the anthem to make a point about social injustice in the country.

I’m not one of them.

I applauded Tommy Smith and John Carlos demonstrating on the medal stand in the ’68 Olympics. And Ali was crucified at the time for his stand on the draft back in the day. Time and the US Supreme Court vindicated his actions.

I don’t get how some people seem to think that they get to decide what’s patriotic and what’s not. What’s proper patriotic etiquette or not. I surely don’t believe it’s the people who shout and write all kinds of obscenities about those who exercise their rights of free speech and to air grievances, cherished rights in this country.

I love this country despite its historical and present day flaws of which are many. I don’t ignore those shortcomings and I don’t begrudge people who put themselves on the line to use their position to make a point.

I don’t see how that disrespects the country or disrespects people who have fought for this country. It just doesn’t.

If you want to be patriotic, know your country’s total history, understand our world and America’s position in it, engage in works that enhance the public good of our country…and vote.

Thanks for reading.