The National Football League has neither confirmed nor denied any plans to honor the 13 U.S. military service members killed last month in Afghanistan as its season opener takes place this week, a conservative senior citizens organization reported Wednesday.
The Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC), which bills itself as a conservative alternative to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) and boasts more than 3 million members, says it has not received answers to repeated requests for information over the previous two days.
An email to the NFL by Roaring Patriot did not receive an immediate response.
The NFL season is set to begin Thursday night with a nationally televised matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The game will be played nearly two weeks after a suicide bomber killed more than 180 people, including 11 Marines, an Army soldier and a U.S. Navy sailor at the Kabul airport during the U.S. military withdrawal from the country on Aug. 26. The bombing and casualties added elements of tragedy and chaos to this final chapter in America’s 20-year war in Afghanistan.
Historically, the NFL has been visibly supportive of the U.S. military, but it has been criticized in recent years for appearing to take an opposite stance, allowing kneeling or absence during the playing of the “Star-Spangled Banner” during pre-game festivities, the embrace of Black Lives Matter protests and other political actions which have spurred claims that the NFL has become anti-American in the name of “wokeness.”
At the same time, the league has seen noticeable declines in television viewership since 2016, when then-San Francisco 49ers reserve quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem and other players joined in what they claimed was an act of protest against “systemic racism” in America.