Veteran football players will be asking us to watch them compete in the Super Bowl soon.
The NFL denied a veteran organization the ad space to ask people to stand during the National Anthem.
All Veterans are Patriots who soar with Eagles in my book. Looking for information for this article I ran across a letter from FDR on the need for sports in a time of war. He felt it was good for the country and should proceed.
FDR’s decision to keep baseball going in order to boost morale on the homefront was interpreted by other commissioners as applicable to their sports as well. Like baseball, the National Football League stayed in business, and kicked off the season in September of 1942. Pro football was seriously impacted by the war effort. By the time the 1943 season began, some 600 players and coaches — more than half of the entire league — had joined the armed forces. As a result, the Cleveland Rams, which had lost not only most of its players, but its majority owner to the draft, suspended play for the season, leaving an uneven 9 teams in the NFL, many of which were shorthanded.
As a result, one of the strangest things in NFL history happened: two interstate rival teams — the Philadelphia Eagles and the Pittsburgh Steelers — were merged. The result? A gaggle of World War Two draft rejects dubbed the “Steagles.” At the onset of the 1943 season, neither of Pennsylvania’s two NFL teams were in good shape. The Philadelphia Eagles had only 16 players (about 50%) left on their roster, and the Pittsburgh Steelers fared even worse, with a mere 6 remaining. Each team had relied on the 1943 NFL Draft for replenishment, but the vast majority of NFL draft picks were instead drafted for the war.
“It sounds like we had a big advantage, putting two teams together as one,” Steagles tackle Al Wistert later said, “but all it meant is that we had twice as many lousy players largely made up of the players who’d been rejected from the military draft.” There were guys with bad eyes, bad knees, bad backs, punctured eardrums — things that could get you out of service, but not an NFL game. Generally, most players in the NFL wanted to join the war: opting out, whatever the reason, was perceived as unpatriotic and cowardly — and being categorized as a 4-F was considered demeaning. Players were scrupulously questioned by fans: how could a man be physically fit enough to play football, yet not serve his country?
I agree with FDR. Our nation needs sports at trying times in our history. I wonder if the players today know this story, and that the men who played before them risked their football futures, to serve their country. I wonder if that would cause them to rethink their protests, and stand for our National Anthem?
I heard on a radio talk show this week, a question. Why continue the boycots?
To me this is why: Valley Forge, Fort McHenry, the Alamo, Vera Cruz, Shiloh, Gettysburg, Little Big Horn, San Juan Hill, the trench warfare of WWI, Pearl Harbor, Normandy, The Bulge, Okinawa, The Chosin Reservoir, Ia Drang, Hue, Falusia, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Why not stand for them!