"Freedom Champ" is the name of my cartoon character who takes a knee during the national anthem. Reactions have been mixed as the league is being pressured by TV advertisers to take action. The player's peers are starting to join him, as they protest racism in the land of the free. The league has become divided and even the president has threatened to cut the league's tax credits.
Old world nationalists say that his gesture disrespects the flag, the country and the military. Educated traditionalists and progressives cite the First Amendment and freedom to protest the government as original components of the Constitution. Freedom Champ has actually attracted a new issue-oriented crowd to the game of football, although overall ratings are down from last season.
The idea that football and politics don't mix is kind of ridiculous, since the game is derived from legislative, judicial and executive action. The game is stacked with rules, many of which make the game less violent. So that's the legislative element, as team owners get to vote on league rules. The judicial element is reflected when coaches get to challenge official rulings, which can be overturned after reviewing the video. The executive element is in the game, how plays are executed in a military fashion.
The league structures championships much the same way national elections determine presidents. The league, like the government, is divided into two groups. For the NFL it's the AFC and NFC conferences while the U.S. government is divided between republicans and democrats. In the NFL teams go through regional contests to narrow down contenders for the playoffs, while each political party has primaries that determine the party nominees. The general election is like the Super Bowl.
Football strategies are often used as metaphors in the business and political worlds. When a team is down by several touchdowns late in the game it can no longer use a "conservative game plan." In those situations, a team must take chances with big plays to get back into the game. While it's common for sportscasters to mention the word "conservative" in relation to play-calling, it's rare to non-existent that the term "liberal" comes up.
Football is a game that portrays a strong status quo, as there is always a victor who can point to statistics that define success. As an establishment mainstay, football has been closely tied with the military. But in 2015 Congress revealed that the Department of Defense was paying millions of dollars to the NFL to promote the military with flyovers, ceremonies and player participation in the national anthem. Prior to 2009 players did not come out of the locker rooms to stand for the national anthem at the beginning of regular season games.