September 29, 2017: Flag protests

Question(s): I received several questions this week to the effect of, "How is your team handling the flag protests?" and "Will you, your DC, and your team stand or kneel for the national anthem?"

With the exception of the Piccolo Player (probably the only player on my team who has ever read a news article of any kind), I really doubt any of my players are aware of the national anthem displays. I had the team doing an hour-long Oklahoma drill last Sunday as punishment for a lackluster performance on Thursday (although if the league asks, it was a "voluntary" game of touch football and not a practice), so they wouldn't have seen the protests.  And most of them couldn't tell you what the word protest means if you had a gun to their head. 

But more to the point, the 5 minutes before a football game starts should be devoted to refining your game plan and intimidating the opponent, not to distractions like patriotism or social causes. I always continue my pre-game preparations with the team during the national anthem. Furthermore, the only anthem my youth football team is concerned with is the Rains of Castamere, which the Piccolo Player plays at mid-field before every game. I require my players to flank him on either side and stare across the field at the opposing team with determined looks. My DC initially would hold up an iPad playing the Red Wedding scene, but the league put a stop to that because they deemed it "inappropriate" for 9-10 year olds. So while our opponent is busy standing or kneeling or whatever they choose to do for the national anthem, we are focused on getting ready for the game, scaring the hell out of them, and then winning.