One thing always leads to another, they say, and such is the case for this piece of sports news.
Follow along with us, we promise to be as concise as possible.
When perusing the latest reports of the demise of the New Zealand international rugby squad, we learned that “God Save the Queen” was abandoned as one of the anthems played before Irish rugby games, as some of the more independently minded Irish players refused to stand for the song.
That put us in mind of another football code, American gridiron, where ex-San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick started a protest in 2017 against what he viewed as racial inequality in America by kneeling during the American national anthem, “The Star Spangled Banner.”
From there, we landed on our topic of the NFL.
Kaepernick is still jobless, but one of his fellow protestors, Eric Reid, has found redemption in the form of a one-year contract from the Carolina Panthers. For those with an interest in history, there are still some lingering animosities in the southern states of the U.S. regarding the outcome of the 1861 – 1865 Civil War, so if national anthem protestors are to find a spot, Carolina would seem to offer a less hostile environment.
What follows is news that Pittsburgh Steelers superstar Le’Veon Bell is supposedly going to end his holdout over contractual disagreements with the team and return to action, but not until the eighth week of the season.
The Steelers have been anemic with Bell missing, but their over-reliance on him in the past has often found Bell dinged and ineffective, or missing entirely at the end of the season, where games assume greater magnitude, or during the playoffs, where there is no AFL system of allowing a top four side to lose a final, but play on. It is win or go home in NFL playoffs.
It is speculation only, but given Bell’s late-season injury history, an eight-week spell at the beginning of the season may be just what the doctor ordered to have Bell at top fitness for the playoffs.
Provided, that is, that the strategy does not backfire and find the Steelers idle during the playoffs.