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EMS Stands for The Flag

—And why NFL stars should get off their knees.


America is the best country in the world.

“Proud to be an American” is more than a catchy slogan.

It’s our way of life.

If you or someone you love serves our country in the armed forces, you get my instant respect and gratitude. No discussion or debate required.

And here’s the best part: I believe most Americans share this viewpoint. Most Americans respect and appreciate those who serve now, and those who served our country in the past.

Why NFL Stars Should Get Off Their Knees

Why should National Football League (NFL) players get off their knees and stand for the national anthem?

Because standing is about respect.

Standing for the national anthem is about showing respect for those who made the ultimate sacrifice and gave their lives for this country. It’s really that simple.

Stand to show respect.

NFL players who kneel before football games do so to draw attention to racism in America. But they disrespect everyone who ever served in uniform by doing so.

NFL players don’t see it that way, because they don’t really see anything through the same lens as regular people. NFL players believe in their cause and believe it’s their right to kneel if they choose.

And you know what? They’re absolutely right. It is their right to kneel.

The constitution and first amendment guarantees this right to every American. The irony is the service men and women who died to give them this right is the group they’re disrespecting the most, by kneeling. That’s the rub, or at least part of it.

The bigger rub is how NFL players are completely out of touch with average Americans. How NFL players believe their opinions are somehow more valuable than the average American’s opinion.

Newsflash: the average American thinks football players should stick to playing football. The average American thinks NFL players are overpaid and out of touch with reality. The average American thinks kneeling during the national anthem (for almost any reason) is unpatriotic.

But none of that explains why kneeling during the national anthem is stupid.

Why Kneeling is Stupid

Is shining a spotlight on racism important?

Yes, of course.

But bringing attention to racism by disrespecting every American who ever served or died for our country, is a stupid way to do it.

But don’t take my word for it. How do you know kneeling during the national anthem is a stupid way to draw attention to racism? Easy answer. The NFL already proved it.

Colin Kaepernick, a free agent quarterback famous for kneeling before football games, can no longer find work in the NFL.

Why can’t Colin Kaepernick find work? Why won’t an NFL team hire him?

The answer has nothing to do with Colin’s skills as a quarterback. The answer is that Colin Kaepernick is damaged goods. No team will take him because of all the bad publicity that comes with hiring him.

The Cleveland Browns also proved how stupid it is to kneel during the national anthem. You can read how Paramedic and Police unions boycotted the Cleveland Browns opener for kneeling during the national anthem.

Watch the NFL Take a Stand This Week

If you’re bothered by all of this, stand-by for a little poetic justice to come your way this week.

The Pittsburgh Steelers forced the issue center stage.

The entire Pittsburgh Steelers team, except for Alejandro Villanueva, ex-Army Ranger, stayed in the locker room for the national anthem before their game with Chicago.

The backlash was quick and severe.

The American public is irritated and threatening to boycott the NFL. Now the NFL commissioner and team owners really have no choice but to start talking about the issue publicly. Even the president commented about the owner’s lack of control over the situation.

Stand-by to see the NFL commissioner and team owners ‘patriotism’ shine through like no other week this season. Now that their revenue is threatened, you’ll see a whole new appreciation for those who served.

Why EMS Stands for The Flag

It’s easy for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to stand for the flag.


Because EMSers are patriots. EMSers live in the real world. EMSers work hard for a lot less money and appreciation than the average NFL player.

But those aren’t the only reasons.

EMSers identify with our service men and women.

EMS is different than serving in the military, but it is about service.

Service is the bond the two communities share.

It’s time for NFL players to stand with EMS and their fellow Americans. It’s time to give respect to those who made the ultimate sacrifice and paid for our freedoms and privileges with their lives.

What do you think? Should NFL players stand for the national anthem? Is it disrespectful not to stand? Leave a comment below. It’s important and we appreciate your input.

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Troy Shaffer
Troy Shaffer

About the Author: Troy is an Air Medical Career Expert passionate about a team approach to improving air medical safety from the ground up. Troy is a former Army medic, Army pilot, Coast Guard pilot and EMS pilot. Troy has taught hundreds of wannabe flight medics, flight nurses and EMS pilots the exact steps needed to launch air medical careers.

    14 replies to "Why EMS Stands for The Flag"

    • Jonathan Mullins

      I agree with Troy…EMS stands for our flag, and the NFL should do the same.

      There is nothing wrong with doing things in protest of a heated social issue, it is our right as Americans. But we should ALWAYS show our appreciation and respect for those great people who gave their lives so that we could live the way we do and have those rights. If you want to do something in protest, that is just fine, but do it some other way or at another time!

      • Troy Shaffer


        Thanks for commenting. I appreciate you taking time to share your opinion.

        Clear Skies & Tailwinds,

    • Danny L. Johnson

      Well stated. The individuals attempting to make a statement need to realize it is not just Americans who see this but with the television industry the whole world sees it. That puts a different spin on things. Protests are acceptable when done correctly. As with all things you need to think of your actions before you do anything.

      • Troy Shaffer


        Thanks for commenting. I appreciate you sharing your opinion and perspective.

        Clear Skies & Tailwinds,

      • Rich Kuklentz

        OK, whats a “correct” protest ?? One that doesn’t get a lot of press or one that doesn’t bother anybody ?? Prior to 2009 the players stayed in the locker room and came out After the playing of the national anthem. The more recent show of patriotism was paid for by the Department of Defense as a recruiting tool !!

        • Troy Shaffer


          Thanks for commenting.

          You’re right about players staying in the locker room prior to 2009.

          I think what people find offensive now is the choice players are making. A lot of people, myself included, think they should show respect by standing (now that teams participate in the National Anthem).

          Again, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

          Clear Skies & Tailwinds,

    • Lisa Walker, RN, Paramedic

      The other funny hitch to this is that players and owners who do not stand, facing the flag during the Anthem are VIOLATING NFL RULES.

      Page 62-63 of the league handbook outline the requirements of the pregame activities.
      Both teams must be standing at attention on the sidelines, helmets in their left hands, facing the flag and not talking.

      So, if the league commissioner allows these acts to continue, he sets the precedent where NONE of the league rules will be enforceable. So, the players thrown out for domestic violence, will be free to act as they choose. Players who are involved with gun incidents will also be free of league censure. This is a dangerous slope that will take many social issues backwards as these players, like it or not, are role models to many, many impressionable kids.

      I applaud any of these players who will chose to make true efforts at fostering racial understanding and equality, kneeling and making it about them does not help, it just creates more divide.

      • Troy Shaffer


        Thanks for commenting. You make some excellent points. It certainly makes sense that an organization like the National Football League would have a rule book. And it’s interesting that their choice of protest violates their own rules.

        Having said that, I completely agree with your comments about the players who chose to make true efforts at fostering racial understanding and equality.

        Thanks for sharing your perspective.

        Clear Skies & Tailwinds,

    • Ernesto D Carson

      Before I became a Firefighter/Paramedic I was a veteran during the cold war when the risk if it getting hot was real.

      What the teams did this weekend did not bother me at all. They all paused and solemnly went to one knee or stood and locked arms. This was not a protest against the flag. This was a reaction to the insults hurled at them by our president. This was a show of solidarity by all players, coaches and owners. Not so dissimilar to the loyalty military personnel show to each other.

      If some one gets out of line on your scene are you going to ignore it of will you respond?. What has galled me over the years is how most people ignore the anthem when it is played at sporting events. In other words people continue to do what they were doing. If they are drinking they continue to drink. If they are eating they continue to drink. If they are cat call and making noise they continue. I am sure this will change at least for a while.

      • Troy Shaffer


        Thanks for sharing your perspective.

        I can personally identify with your frustration over folks doing anything but paying attention to the national anthem during the national anthem. That’s one of the reasons I think many are frustrated with NFL players kneeling. The premise being that standing for the national anthem is the least you can do to show some respect and appreciation.

        Again, thanks for commenting.

        Clear Skies & Tailwinds,

    • David Wilson

      Troy, Thank you for your write up on EMS standing for the Flag.

      I myself being a Vietnam Veteran Stand for the FLAG and the NATIONAL ANTHEM at all events. I started my career as a medic in Vietnam. After an Honorable Discharge from the Military, I spent 30 years driving truck cross country. After retirement, I decided I needed something to do so I went and took a EMT course and became a EMT – which i still do as a volunteer for a ambulance service here in the state of Washington. Also, I will be 70 years old in a month and am not ready to give up yet. In fact i am renewing my certs for another three years. As for the NFL, I have not watched a game since Capernick started disrespecting the Flag and our National Anthem.

      Keep up the good work.

      • Troy Shaffer


        Thanks for your service to our country and for the kind words. It means extra to me coming from a Vietnam veteran.

        Good on you for staying committed to helping others at soon to be 70 years young. I hope I can follow your positive example.

        Thanks for taking time to comment.

        Clear Skies & Tailwinds,

    • Jeff McCann

      White Americans are always quick to criticize HOW, WHERE, and WHEN black Americans protest, but never want to discuss, or even admit, WHAT they are protesting. The protest has nothing to do with the flag or veterans, or any of the other nonsense that whites keep claiming it does. It’s strictly about the institutional racism in our legal system and the lack of accountability for police killings, and that’s it.

      Did I miss your essay condemning the violent, murderous, right wing riot in Charlotte? Did you speak out against those parading under the flags of our enemies, the Confederacy and the Nazi Third Reich, for so disrespecting “those who made the ultimate sacrifice and paid for our freedoms and privileges with their lives”? If so, I’m sorry not to have seen it. But if not, please get off your moral high horse and try showing a little more respect for core American values.

      Protest is as American as apple pie. It’s our oldest political tradition and our most cherished civil right. So if you want to show some real respect for the flag, try showing a little support for what it stands for.

      • Troy Shaffer


        Thanks for commenting. I appreciate your candor, even though
        I disagree with almost everything you’ve said.

        Showing respect for the flag is as American as apple pie.

        It’s also the reason this issue is emotionally charged for so many Americans. I understand the NFL players’ desire to focus attention on racism in America. I believe it’s an important and worthy cause, and I say so in the article.

        The problem is that disrespecting the American flag is a stupid way to bring attention to any cause. Stupid is color blind. You don’t get a free pass just because you play the race card. But don’t take my word for it, look at the reactions of the American people. Many are so angry they’re now boycotting the NFL.

        Again, thanks for commenting and sharing your perspective. I appreciate opposing views, even if I don’t agree with them.

        Clear Skies & Tailwinds,

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