Roy Exum: Pro Sports Threatened

Tuesday, September 15, 2020 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

The backlash at racial protests took a tremendous hit on the first weekend of the NFL season and it was predictable by a fed-up public. Americans love sports but the increasing rancor over the Black Lives Matter movement, over more than 100 nights of rioting in Portland, over 560 blacks murdered by other blacks in Chicago since January, and the latest travesty in Los Angeles – two police officers ambushed and black protesters later mobbing the hospital with screams, “I hope the f****rs die” on primetime TV, is far too much to take.

In Thursday night’s season opener between the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs and the Texans there were audible boos over the on-field protests.

The Texans stayed in the locker room during the national anthem – they didn’t even come out for the league’s newest addition – the NAACP theme song, but the real blow was to the all-important ratings.

Last year 22 million tuned into the Thursday night opener but this year there was a 12.3 percent drop in viewers: 19.3 million watched. Worse, the key demographic (the 18-49 age group) plunged from 12.8 last year to a 5.2 last Thursday and brother, that makes the networks and the big-bucks advertisers cringe.

On Sunday night a game featuring two of the NFL’s favorite teams, the LA Rams versus the Dallas Cowboys, dropped from 22.2 million in the first Sunday night game of the year to 14.61 million. That’s 7.6 million no-shows! Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is deeply concerned. “That is a huge issue! Huge. You know, just by the nature of the way I run the team, how much I appreciate the interest that’s in the Dallas Cowboys.

“Now, I know there is an interest, just because they want to see us get beat, but, still, the big interest is there. I’m very sensitive to that,” the Dallas owner added. “That’s exactly why I have said that I want our players to be more sensitive to just how important it is to the majority of our fans, more than any other team, of how sensitive (our fans) are recognizing what this great country is and what that flag stands for.”

Jerry Jones is right. When San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick sat during the national anthem and many NFL players followed his lead, I quit watching pro sports. I haven’t watched an NFL or NBA game in two years. You say, ‘Roy you are a racist’ and I reply, ‘Not so fast, my friend.’ I will stay up until the wee hours watching any college football or basketball game. There are just as many black athletes in college as there are in the pros.

The difference is that college athletes play for the love of the game; pro athletes play for the love of self. I am repulsed by pro athletes who use protest as an excuse to capitalize on their true want: ‘Hey, look at me.’ I’ll admit it, I’m too much a God & Country. I don’t begrudge any one from a legitimate, peaceful protest but don’t begrudge me for using my time elsewhere.

A number of pro teams claim the ratings are plummeting because of COVID but you can’t catch the pandemic from watching TV. With a lack of ticket sales set to cost the pro team owners billions, they need TV worse than ever before. But answer me this: if ESPN aired a two-hour special on the NBA’s alliance with BLM, who do you think would watch? Pro sports teams have aligned themselves with a very unpopular cause and are getting ready to face dire consequences from the public. Just watch, you’ll see, because the course the pros have charted is a dead end to nowhere.

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An Open Letter to the Houston Texans -- By Mark W. Stephens

When people think of Texans, they rightly think of our heritage. Rugged individuals who came together to forge our Republic. Heroes and fighters. Men and women void of fear. They think of the “Old 18,” eighteen men who stood against the Mexican Army as they tried to claim the Gonzalez Canon and held them off until the Texas Militia arrived. They think of the Texas women who ripped away part of a wedding dress and pieced together that infamous white cloth with a drawing of a Lone Star, a canon, and a simple four-word reply to the mighty Mexican Army… “Come And Take It.”

They think of the “Immortal 32,” thirty-two men from the Texas Militia who marched fearlessly from Gonzales to San Antonio, knowing it would be their last, to unselfishly reinforce their fellow Texans under siege at the Alamo.

They think of the couple of hundred defenders of the Alamo who choose to stay and fight against a couple of thousand Mexican soldiers, knowing it was a death sentence. They think of how those few men held off the powerful Mexican Army for thirteen full days before they offered the ultimate sacrifice for the birth of the Texas Republic.

They think of men like Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie, and Colonel William Barrett Travis, the latter of whom requested reinforcements as he battled the Mexican Army. Knowing in his heart they would never come, still, he wrote, “I shall never surrender or retreat” and he let the world know he understood his fate when he further wrote, “I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible and die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor and that of his Country.”

And they think of that tenacious signature that has gone down in the annals of history and will forever be remembered as one of Texas’ proudest moments, “VICTORY or DEATH.”

They think of that day in April 1836, when a rag-tag group of 800 Texas Militia led by General Sam Houston surprised and attacked the much larger Mexican Army of a couple of thousand troops along the banks of the San Jacinto River and routed them, with the cries of “Remember the Alamo!” and “Remember Goliad!”

They captured General Santa Anna. They forced the Mexican Army to surrender, they won freedom and independence for all Texans, and they won the hearts and loyalty from all Texans in return. Forever.

These men of character and grit will forever be known as Texans. They earned that title. Those of us who follow in their boot steps and are blessed by the Grace of God to be Texan, try to emulate our forefathers, and try to bring honor, strength, and character to our beloved State and thus earn our own title of “Texan.”

Conversely, your team members wear a uniform calling themselves “Texans” - as the simple participants of a billion-dollar child’s game – and are most assuredly as evidenced by your atrocious behavior on September 10, 2020, undeserving of the title of “Texan.” To be Texan is to be courageous, strong, and brave. Texans don’t bow to outside pressure, political or otherwise. Texans kneel only to God.

You are not Texan.

On the day before the sacred and solemn day of 9/11, where we honor so many of our brave and heroic police officers and firefighters who paid the ultimate sacrifice, you took the football field prior to the playing of our country’s National Anthem, as a team.

And instead of honoring our fallen heroes of 9/11, you chose to honor rapists, robbers, and drug dealers.

Then, prior to the playing of our National Anthem, you fled from the field as a team. You turned your backs on our flag. You turned your backs on our soldiers. You turned your backs on our police officers. You fled to the bowels of the stadium locker room to cower and hide rather than show support for the Flag of the United States of America and honor our heroes here and abroad.

Texans don’t run.

Time and time again, you’ve chosen to honor common criminals like George Floyd, who was convicted of pistol-whipping and robbing a young Houston woman and pointing a gun at her young daughter while his gang robbed this poor woman and her family of all their belongings.

A brutal man who repeatedly targeted Hispanics here in Houston for robbery and who ultimately died from a self-inflicted overdose of illegal drugs, while committing yet another series of felony crimes.

Can you imagine the horrors these poor Houston crime victims of George Floyd are having to endure once again because you chose to “honor” the monster who brutalized them and their families?

You honor Breonna Taylor, an alleged criminal suspect in a homicide case and member of an organized drug gang, whose boyfriend shot a police officer while she stood by his side and was ultimately shot and killed herself in the ensuing gunfight.

You honor Jacob Blake, a known woman abuser and active fugitive wanted for the brutal sexual assault of a woman, who then stole her car and her bank card, physically attacked pursuing police officers, then pulled a knife on the officers and attempted to flee in a stolen car with children inside before police officers shot him.

You honor these criminals in the pretense of “supporting” the black community. If you truly wanted to support and honor the black community, you would strongly condemn those who prey upon them. If you truly wanted to support and honor the black community, you would refuse to celebrate black criminals and instead honor their victims.

Imagine a day when little boys realize their only way to make it to the NFL is to commit vicious crimes and attack police officers so the NFL will one-day “honor” them too. That is the dynamic you are creating. By honoring black criminals, you are only perpetuating and glorifying that criminal lifestyle and empowering other vicious criminals to continue their criminal enterprise within and against black communities.

That is not Texan.

Texans don’t honor and support criminals. Period. Texans are proud to protect ourselves, our families, our neighbors, and especially those who are unable to protect themselves from such violent predators. Criminals like George Floyd flee Texas for a reason.

Just so you know, there is a federal statute that directs all Americans on how they should behave and conduct themselves during the presenting of the Flag of the United States of American and the playing of the Star-Spangled Banner, known as our National Anthem.

Title 36, Section 301, sub-section C of the United States Code regarding the National Anthem states in part, "all other persons present (other than those in uniform) should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, and men not in uniform, if applicable, should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart."

This is not negotiable. You have no valid excuse nor any valid reason to show such disdain and disrespect to our country, our flag, our National Anthem, our soldiers, and our police officers, ESPECIALLY when you represent “Texans” while doing so.

I find it incredibly ironic, if not entirely hypocritical, that an organization like the NFL whose very business platform closely resembles the slave trade days of the old South where men were bought, sold, and traded based on their size and strength, believes they have the moral authority, or any other authority for that matter, to dictate social norms to others.

The NFL organization and employees, both current and former, consist of burglars and thieves, drug dealers, abusers of women, rapists, robbers, and murderers. How do you choose which ones to hire, fire, or “honor”? If you’re trying to lead by example, you have failed miserably.

Texans don’t need anyone to tell them how or what to think.

Therefore, it is for the aforementioned reasons that I make a very simple, but reasonable suggestion.

Change the name of your team.

The Houston Texans in their current state, in no way, shape, or form, represent Texas or Texans. Thus, I will support any official petition to change the name of the Houston Texans by removing the word Texans, as I believe you have come to woefully misrepresent those of us who have earned and actually value the title, Texan.

Very simply, you are not Texans.

With All Due Respect,

Mark W. Stephens

* * *

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