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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Matt Birk’s anthem comment was out of line

By Matthew Coller

If irony wasn’t already dead, Matt Birk stuck a fork in it on Sunday at US Bank Stadium.

During a sideline interview shown on the video board, Birk was asked what he would do if he was commissioner of the NFL – a question that you have to think he requested – and he came out with a pre-planned jab at players who have protested police violence by kneeling during the national anthem.

Greg Coleman asks Matt Birk what he’d do if he was commish. Birk: Outlaw holding, play on natural grass, make everyone stand for anthem.

— Ben Goessling (@GoesslingStrib) October 22, 2017

Birk decided to use the platform he was given by the Vikings to push his political agenda – the very thing he is scrutinizing players for doing.

You would think the former Vikings center would respect kneeling players because he is no stranger to protest. After the Ravens won the Super Bowl, he elected not to visit the Obama White House in protest of the president’s stance on abortion.

“I wasn’t there,” Birk told KFAN-FM. “I would say this, I would say that I have great respect for the office of the presidency, but about five or six weeks ago, our president made a comment in a speech and he said, ‘God bless Planned Parenthood.’

“Planned Parenthood performs about 330,000 abortions a year. I am Catholic, I am active in the pro-life movement and I just felt like I couldn’t deal with that. I couldn’t endorse that in any way.”

While the nation is split on abortion as much as they are on kneeling, Birk’s decision was unequivocally respected. You can’t find a single comment or article saying he was wrong to skip the White House trip.

How can anything be concluded except that Birk sees his protest as a just cause but not theirs? He is essentially saying that black players making a statement about police brutality is not as holy as his crusade.

Players have repeated over and over and over that they are not disrespecting the military or spitting on the United States. Surely Birk has heard that, too. Yet he still aimed to degrade their cause.

It’s incredible that an ex player would by so against the rights of players. Aren’t players supposed to have each other’s back? Isn’t that why the Vikings linked arms? To show solidarity, right? Well, Birk apparently isn’t into that, otherwise he wouldn’t have gone out of his way to attempt to separate players based on their political views.

Maybe it’s a case of an ex player craving a piece of the spotlight. Maybe Birk, a league employee, sought to please his bosses with his stunt, but in the process he outed himself as a hypocrite in doing so and hurt his legacy as a popular Vikings player.

It’s amazing how many conversations have been started and how many views have been shared during the first seven weeks of the NFL season. People all over the league have seen the world from a different perspective, whether they chose to kneel or not.

Birk sought to undo that. He should apologize. Or better yet, he should try listening to players who have kneeled as opposed to using his platform to slam them.

The post Matt Birk’s anthem comment was out of line appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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