Columnist gets it right about NFL


My favorite newspaper columnist, Daniel Henninger of the Wall Street Journal, writing in his Thursday "Wonder Land" column, explains "Why I Prefer Baseball." I agree wholeheartedly with what he writes.

Here are some excerpts from Dan's column that have stuck with me:

"We've arrived at a moment when some choices have to be made. Starting Tuesday, I'll exclusively devote what's left of my sports-viewing budget to the Major League Baseball playoffs.

"Set to one side that the reason most Americans can sing the words to their national anthem is that for generations, every American attending a professional baseball game has stood to look at the flag while someone sings 'The Star-Spangled Banner.' Many Americans think the last words of the national anthem are 'Play ball!'

"Baseball is about baseball. The NFL and NBA seem to be about more things than I can process - some of them political, some of them personal. Baseball has an informal code of on-field conduct, which has held for a hundred years. The NFL doesn't seem to have an enforceable code of anything.

"Last Sunday, after the New York Giants' wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. caught a touchdown pass, Mr. Beckham got down in the end zone and imitated a dog urinating on a fire hydrant ...

"From Babe Ruth 90 years ago to Aaron Judge now, when you hit a home run, you run around the bases and into the dugout. That's it. No end-zone antics that suggest the sport itself takes a back seat to a personality.

"After the Yankees' Mr. Judge hit his 50th home run this week, a record for a rookie, his teammates had to force him out of the dugout to wave to the cheering crowd.

"Only the innocent could feign shock that eventually Donald Trump, in his capacity as president of the United States, would go after the kneeling players about the same way you'd hear from a guy sitting in the high seats at a New York Jets game, who by the third quarter is on fumes: 'Get that son of a bitch off the field!'

"There is an expression in sports: Don't leave it in the locker room. It means you are supposed to save your best performance for the game. With baseball, that's still what you get.

"We live in a highly polarized country. If people want their sport and its performers to be an affirmation of their politics, feel free. I don't."

I'm with Dan on his final words.

As for the kneel-down, protesting athletes, GET THE HOOK!

And by the way, have you ever heard of Bobby Richardson taking a knee during the National Anthem? The only time he ever took a knee was to pray.

Email Hubert D. Osteen Jr. at