We’ve apparently reached that point in the NFL debate where the liberal defenders of the kneeling players are not just arguing that they should have the right to protest but that it is actively unAmerican that anyone – including and perhaps especially their employer – should try to stop them.

That’s the takeaway from a ludicrous new column from USA Today sportswriter Nancy Armour, who is outraged by the fact that the NFL may let each team decide whether or not their players must stand for the national anthem. This reasonable compromise – a rare display of sense from a nonsensical NFL front office – is seen by Armour as the height of cowardice. She proposes that the league actually re-organize its conferences into “For the Flag” teams and “For the Constitution” teams.

Oh brother.

From USA Today:

Since owners like Jerry Jones and Bob McNair are determined to make a show of who’s for ‘Merica and who’s not, the NFL ought to realign the league so there can be no confusion about anyone’s position.

Instead of the NFC and the AFC, let’s call the NFL’s new conferences the CSC and the KNC.

The CSC would be the Constitution Supporters Conference, made up of teams whose owners recognize that the protests during the anthem are neither anti-police nor anti-military, but meant to draw attention to police brutality in communities of color and economic inequality. These owners know the right to free speech that’s protected by the First Amendment refers to censorship by the government, not employers, but they’re also smart enough to know that stifling political dissent in a country founded on protest is the very definition of unAmerican.

The KNC would be the Know Nothing Conference. For those who’ve forgotten what they learned in eighth-grade social studies – and it’s clear there are plenty in this country who could use a refresher course – the Know Nothings were a political party in the mid-1800s that cloaked discrimination in the defense of traditional religious and political values. These ideologues wanted to preserve what they saw as their rightful place in the social, economic and political hierarchies, and were horrified that some people were actually taking that “all men being created equal” idea seriously.

Whoa nelly, that’s some certified liberal bullcrap right there.

What Armour doesn’t get is that the NFL is a business. Team owners are less concerned about respecting the flag than they are about to dismal ratings spiral that this controversy has caused for the league and the ticket sales that have never been lower. That’s not to suggest that people like Jerry Jones DON’T care about the anthem, but, well, let’s put it this way: If the anthem protests were wildly popular and the NFL had broken attendance records last year, we would be having a very different conversation.

Players, fans, and anyone else in this country have the right to sit, kneel, or stand on their heads when the national anthem is played. They do not, however, necessarily have the right to do these things when the act of doing them is causing active harm to the people that employ them. “Stifling political dissent” as a private employer is not “unAmerican.” If players had been told not to protest Barack Obama, Nancy Armour and the rest of these defenders would easily understand that.