Tuesday, August 16, 2016

NFL Throws Flag on Dallas Decal

NFL Throws Flag on Dallas Decal
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
August 16, 2016

A simple, yet meaningful gesture by the Dallas Cowboys to place a decal on their football helmets honoring the Dallas police force, most specifically the memories of the five slaughtered officers, has been sacked by the National Football League and Commissioner Roger Goodell.

The decal, barely larger than the NFL logo decal on the backs of the helmets, which has been worn by the Cowboys since training camp opened July 30, is circular, reading “Arm in Arm,” and features the Texas Lone Star. Calling the requested decal a violation of standard uniform policy, the NFL is acting in a cowardly manner, hiding behind a rule that is not written in stone, when clearly it has been violated numerous times in the past. (http://www.gridiron-uniforms.com/GUD/decals.shtml) The list is not as comprehensive as it leads readers to believe.

In 2007, the Green Bay Packers donned a helmet decal commemorating the 50th anniversary of Lambeau Field.

Each October since 2009 not only does the NFL mandate breast cancer awareness decals, but various uniform accoutrements are pink – a clear violation of uniform policy.

In 2011 the New England Patriots adorned helmet decals in memory of Myra Kraft, wife of team owner Robert Kraft. Three years later, the Detroit Lions did likewise in memory of their team owner William Clay Ford.

Both the New York Giants and Jets wore “SHES” decals on their helmets in memory of those murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.

The above references are a sampling of those which did not appear on the provided link, save for the cancer awareness item. Clearly there is precedence for uniform amendments and a decal is a slight augmentation, yet significant in perception. Take for example the 2012 decal worn by the Denver Broncos that read “Victims of gun violence and wild fires.” If those victims could be memorialized, why not the slaughtered Dallas police officers?

Conservative radio host Mark Levin called the NFL’s decision to reject the Dallas decal “embarrassing and disgraceful.”

It is an act of cowardice because it would demonstrate that the NFL, with a recent history of thuggish behavior by far too many players involved with violence toward women and a gun culture, is hypocritical in supporting police when it can barely police its own players. Instead, by not allowing the decal, it is tantamount to a lack of support of the law enforcement community – the same community that keeps millions of fans safe and secure while spending millions of dollars to attend NFL games in 32 stadiums around the nation.

The decal, a display of unity with the Dallas police, was the brainchild of Cowboys tight end Jason Witten. On the advent of Cowboys training camp July 30, Dallas Police Chief David Brown, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, as well as relatives of the slain officers were present as several of the Dallas players took the field arm in arm with decals adorning the helmets of the entire team. Clearly an emotional moment for those involved.

Yet Dallas Morning News columnist Tim Cowlishaw was not moved, supporting the NFL’s decision. Without naming any, Cowlishaw wrote there are ways to honor police without “opening this political door.”

When did the slaughter of police officers become political? Perhaps when the NFL opted to deny the Cowboys their simple request because Goodell might have feared backlash and recriminations from the violent, anarchistic Black Lives Matter movement.

It is not political when five Dallas police officers are mercilessly slaughtered and several others wounded in an act of violence that endangers entire communities. Nobody asked the politics of the police officers who were murdered on July 7. They were the antithesis of the NFL’s cowardice by making the ultimate sacrifice during a Black Lives Matter protest rally only a few blocks from Dealey Plaza, the site of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963.

Lorne Aherns, 48, was a 14 year veteran of the Dallas Police Department.

Michael Krol, 40, was an eight year veteran with the Dallas Police Department.

Michael J. Smith, 55, a 27 year veteran of the police force, is survived by his wife of 17 years, Heidi, as well as two daughters, 14 and nine. Smith was also an Army Ranger.

Brent Thompson, 43, was a seven year veteran of the Transit Police who previously served in Iraq. He is survived by his wife of two weeks, a fellow transit police officer.

Patrick Zamarripa, 32, was a police officer and father of two children who survived three tours in Iraq only to be gunned down on the job at home in Dallas.

Somehow politics was probably the last thing on anyone’s minds when these five heroes were laid to rest. May their memories be for a Blessing. As for the NFL, contact Commissioner Goodell at 212-450-2000 or via e-mail at officeofcommissioner@nfl.com to politely lodge outrage as this deleterious decision. Perhaps save a small fortune and watch the games from the comforts of home. As John Belushi said in Animal House, “don’t cost nothin’.”

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.

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