The Diocese of Camden, New Jersey has a message for high school football players: either respect the National Anthem or be prepared to ride the bench.
Any player or coach for high school sports teams in the diocese who does not “demonstrate appropriate respect” during the Star-Spangled Banner will be subject to a two-game suspension, Philly.com reports.
The Catholics are doing what the National Football League refuses to do.
“Our schools are founded on the teaching of respect and honor; respect and honor for God, country and duly appointed authority,” Supt. Mary Boyle wrote to Catholic high schools in the diocese. “The best approach is helping our young people understand that blood was sacrificed so that we all can enjoy the gifts of our faith and our country.”
Players, coaches and administrators are expected to show respect during prayer, pledges and the playing of the national anthem, she declared.
“Failure to demonstrate appropriate respect will result in suspension from play (2 games) or dismissal from the team for subsequent offense,” she wrote.
Bishop Eustace’s football team requires young men to stand at attention.
“Helmet under left arm. Stand straight. Chest out. Eyes ahead,” assistant athletic director Frank DelRossi told the newspaper. “We think it’s important, and our kids do too.”
The Catholics don't mess around, folks.
In recent days -- many professional football players have demonstrated contempt for the Armed Forces as well as our national anthem.
The disgraceful trend was started by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kapernick – who refused to stand as a way of protesting perceived racial oppression and inequality.
Mr. Kaepernick is a self-center, unpatriotic dunderhead. But to be fair -- it's hard for a football player to stand up for America when he's got his head up his hindquarters.
To be clear -- professional football players have a Constitutional right to demonstrate their hatred of America. They have a right to denigrate our troops and desecrate the flag.
But we have rights, too. We have the right to boycott their games along with the corporate sponsors who finance their anti-American platforms.
Eli Harold, a 49ers teammate who raised his fist in defiance of our nation, told ESPN he was furious that fans objected to the protest.
“What really pissed me off was when Kap was getting snaps at the end of the game and the crowd was booing,” he told ESPN. “I’m not throwing shots at our fans. It’s not about that. Liberty and justice for all. Just because this man is standing up for something he believes in doesn’t give you the right to boo him. I just don’t understand it, man. I really don’t.”
Eli Harold, you dolt, it’s called the First Amendment. Fans most certainly do have the right to boo and heckle and boycott.
Now you understand why so many people are disgusted with the National Football League.
And that’s why it was so refreshing to hear about the edict handed down by the Diocese of Camden. They are teaching young men to be patriots -- men of honor and duty. It’s instruction that’s badly needed in the National Football League.
Maybe the diocese could send a delegation of nuns to the next 49ers game -- armed with rulers.
Todd Starnes is host of Fox News & Commentary, heard on hundreds of radio stations. His latest book is "God Less America: Real Stories From the Front Lines of the Attack on Traditional Values." Follow Todd on Twitter @ToddStarnes and find him on Facebook.