Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) won't be attending NFL games during the 2018 season because she cancelled her season tickets and, instead, will be spending Sundays fishing with her family.
What did she say?
Black — who is also a Tennessee gubernatorial candidate — wrote an editorial piece for Outkick the Coverage, detailing her reasons behind opting out of attending NFL games entirely.
"When the National Football League’s Oilers moved from Houston to Nashville, my husband Dave and I were first in line for season tickets," Black wrote. "Sports have always been an important part of our lives, and having an NFL team in our city was a dream come true."
Black said that she and her family loved attending the Titans games for the sport as well as for the camaraderie that often comes with rooting for your favorite team.
"That’s why I was so disappointed to see the NFL and its players disrespect our flag and our anthem during this last season," she said. "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."
Did she watch or attend the games the NFL in 2017?
Black admitted that neither she nor her husband ended up attending — or watching — a single NFL game during the 2017 season.
She noted that while every American "has the right to protest," it doesn't mean that those Americans should necessarily exercise their right to protest a show of patriotism.
"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," Black admitted. "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."
Black went on to detail the respect that she has for the "millions of sons, daughters, husbands, wives, fathers, and mothers" who served the U.S. by fighting for the "values espoused in our anthem" and "represented by our flag."
What did she say about the players protesting?
She took a hard stance against those players participating in the kneeling protests. Noting that while these protesters claim to demonstrate against "the treatment of minorities by our law enforcement," Black said their reasoning doesn't add up.
"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?" she asked. She went on to quote former NFL player Colin Kaepernick who 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."
Black added that while there "certainly" have been incidents of "improper actions in law enforcement," those same circumstances don't justify "generic demonization of hard-working, dedicated police officers" all across the nation.
"These are people worth honoring, not insulting," she wrote, while pointing at ratings as evidence that Americans are fed up with disrespect of the American flag, U.S. armed forces, and first responders.
"That’s the message the American people sent to the NFL this fall," Black explained.
Black concluded by revealing that she and her family will begin a new tradition of fishing together on Sundays instead of attending or watching NFL games.
"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," she said. "If you agree and want to support our troops and police, we hope you will find your own way to make your voice heard with us. The people who defend us deserve our thanks."