The NFL is standing for America.
It finally displayed leadership Wednesday, announcing that it has banned players from kneeling on the field while our national anthem is played. Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement, "This season, all league and team personnel shall stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem."
Players can remain in the locker room while the anthem is played if they wish, Goodell said, but "if anyone is on the field and is disrespectful to the anthem or the flag, there would be a fine from the league against the team."
It was long overdue for the NFL to tackle this divisive issue, which alienated millions of loyal fans, many of whom stopped watching games, purchasing merchandise and supporting the league in general, causing TV ratings to plummet and costing the industry millions in lost revenue.
Fans made crystal clear that they don't want politics infiltrating sports, nor do they appreciate players disrespecting our American flag — a hard-fought symbol of freedom our brave veterans lost lives and limbs defending and our enlisted service members continue to protect.
Good for Goodell and the NFL for showing respect for our military, veterans and the fans who just want to enjoy the sport they love without having the toxicity of politics spoil the fun. It's a time-honored Sunday tradition for millions of Americans to grill up great food, gather with friends and family, and crack open a cold beer while watching their favorite team battle for the end zone.
If fans wanted to hear about political issues come Sunday, they'd find other avenues to do that. For starters, they'd connect to a political news portal, not a football game.
That's something that Colin Kaepernick paid no mind to when he launched the whole #TakeAKnee controversy in 2016, which started out as a public relations spectacle to protest police brutality but ended up alienating patriotic Americans instead — folks who love our country and the game of football but don't appreciate athletes with multimillion-dollar contracts dissing our beautiful flag, "The Star-Spangled Banner" and effectively America, a country that has given players everything, including the freedom and opportunity to pursue their dreams and career of choice.
That's something that millions of oppressed people living under Shariah and communist regimes don't have the liberty to enjoy.
In fact, in 2015, Islamic State militants executed 13 teenagers in Iraq for simply watching a football game on TV. The young Iraqi boys, full of hopes and dreams, were publicly slaughtered by a firing squad using machine guns because watching an innocuous sporting event violates Shariah.
Yes, police brutality is an important issue and must be addressed. But football games aren't the time or the place to do so.
Adriana Cohen is a syndicated columnist with the Boston Herald. Follow her on Twitter @AdrianaCohen16. To find out more about Adriana Cohen and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.