Until a few weeks ago, National Football League stadiums were about the last places anyone would go for a lesson in patriotism, First Amendment rights and civic responsibility.
This is what I saw Sunday afternoon at an NFL game in New Jersey: An African-American artist, Brian McKnight, delivering a moving rendition of the national anthem.
And this is what I saw Monday night at an NFL game in Chicago: Four African-American athletes raising their fists in protest during the playing of that same anthem.
Freedom of expression is a powerful force in this country, and ever since Colin Kaepernick sat down last month while every other participant in a preseason game stood up, professional football players have reminded us that it’s a wonderfully American thing to honor your conscience and advocate for social change in the most public of forums.
Here in Chicago, Malcolm Jenkins, Steven Means, Ron Brooks, and Marcus Smith II were the Eagles who raised their fists after a giant American flag was unfurled at Soldier Field. They should be proud of their willingness to take this stance, and all right-minded people around the league should be proud of their actions, too.
Consider the following: Jenkins said he is the grandson of a Marine and Korean War veteran who was awarded the Purple Heart. Brooks said his girlfriend served in the Navy and is the daughter of a state trooper in Louisiana.
Beckham finished with six catches for 76 yards and a touchdown. It was also the only game of his career with multiple drops.
It’s not to say Beckham couldn’t have had a big game. He beat Norman badly in the first quarter and had an uncharacteristic drop on what would’ve been a 52-yard touchdown reception. He later dropped a 10-yard pass with Norman in the area and had another underthrown 37 yards downfield when quarterback Eli Manning was under pressure.
If the tear is minor enough, Peterson could conceivably avoid surgery altogether, and put up solid numbers in the process. Arian Foster played most of the 2010 season with a torn meniscus and led the league with 1,616 rushing yards, only revealing after the season that he’d sustained the injury. Chris Johnson played all of 2013 with a torn meniscus, gaining 1,077 yards for the Tennessee Titans, and Buffalo Bills running back Anthony Dixon played the 2014 season with a partially torn meniscus, having the best season of his career before undergoing offseason surgery.