COMMENTARY: What the Raiders can learn from the Golden Knights

I have to say, “Wow.” I’ve been involved with sports — as both a fan and businessman — my entire adult life. This Vegas Golden Knights season is the single most remarkable thing I’ve ever seen. That’s even if it ends here in the Stanley Cup Final.

But if the Knights win the Stanley Cup, I don’t think there can be any debate. They will be the greatest underdog story in the history of sports. Enjoy the ride, because this is truly one in a billion.

It’s just not possible for a first-year expansion team filled with castoffs to win the whole damn thing. Do you believe in miracles? This is a reality show mixed with a fairy tale. I can’t wait for the movie. I want to play GM George McPhee.

Now let me ask a common-sense political question involving the Knights. Why does no one in the NHL … not one player … try to kneel during America’s national anthem? Could this be one of the reasons why Vegas fans have such a love affair with their Knights?

Now compare this patriotic story to the NFL. Why do NFL players seem so desperate to kneel and give a middle finger to their own fans? I don’t buy the argument that it’s about race. There are black NHL players. None of them kneel.

None of the black players in baseball or the NBA kneel, either. Obviously, they appreciate this country and the opportunities they get — whether black, white or any other color — to play a kid’s game and get paid millions of dollars per year.

But, somehow, NFL players see terrible things about America that the players in other sports don’t see.

Consider this. Perhaps everyone — black, white or otherwise — is angry about something. I personally see injustice every day. But common sense says the playing of our national anthem isn’t the place or time to show anger. It’s a time to show only love and appreciation. If you’re angry, show it later, at some other venue — such as a protest march. No one is stopping you.

The Vegas Knights get that, and they’ve been rewarded with the most loyal, loving, fanatic fan base in the sports world. There’s a lesson in there for the future Las Vegas Raiders.

Keep in mind the Knights didn’t cost Vegas taxpayers one cent. The Raiders are costing taxpayers $750 million, and our future team was outed days ago as one of only two NFL franchises to abstain from a vote to prohibit players from kneeling for the national anthem. Thirty other NFL teams smartly voted “yes.” But the two teams from the People’s Republic of San Francisco area both abstained.

Does anyone in the Raiders’ front office realize Vegas ain’t San Fran? Here in Vegas, we’re starting to wonder if we should have used the $750 million to build a wall to keep Californians out.

I saw where a 49ers player angrily remarked how the players are the ones whose views matter. I disagree strongly.

Sports is a business. The players don’t matter. Only the fans matter. They are the customers. Customers pay the bills. A player making $15 million a year feels important. Guess what? He’s not. He is collecting $15 million. The people who buy the tickets and merchandise and watch on TV are the only ones who matter. They are the ones paying for the bloated, obscene salaries.

If the fans (i.e., your customers) aren’t happy, sales drop, stadiums are empty and TV ratings collapse. In case the players didn’t notice, that already happened. That’s precisely why the NFL owners voted to ban kneeling. They got the message. The people who buy the tickets and pay the players’ salaries won — as they should have.

When NFL players put their money where their mouths are, their opinion can matter. Until then, they should study the Vegas Golden Knights.

Contact Wayne Allyn Root at Wayne@ROOTforAmerica.com. Hear or watch the nationally syndicated “WAR Now: The Wayne Allyn Root Show” from 3 to 6 p.m. daily at 790 Talk Now and at 5 p.m. on Newsmax TV.

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