What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
Editor’s Note: Thanks to the Movie The King’s Speech, George VI came back into the view of the American populace. If it weren’t for that movie, most Yanks had long since forgotten George VI’s role as a wartime leader and the fact he ruled sovereign over a quarter of the world.
Much as he did through the Second World War, His Majesty George the Sixth, King of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas, Defender of the Faith, and Last Emperor of India endeavors to lead us through the darkness of the impending NFL Lockout.
In this grave hour, perhaps the most fateful in history, I send to every household of my peoples, both at home and overseas, this message, spoken with the same depth of feeling for each one of you as if I were able to cross your threshold and speak to you myself.
For the second time in the lives of most of us, we face a labor stoppage in the National Football League.
Over and over again, we have tried to find a peaceful way out of the differences between ourselves and those led by Herr Goodell, those who are now our enemies; but it has been in vain. We have been forced into a conflict, for which we are called, with our allies; the non-confiscatory owners and the players’ union, to meet the challenge of a principle which if it were to prevail, would be fatal to any civilized league in the world.
It is a principle which permits a league in the selfish pursuit of power to disregard its treaties and its solemn pledges, to disregard the health and safety of its players, and to disregard the fair economic cornerstones upon which this realm was founded. These are canons in whose defense many before us have given the ultimate sacrifice, and in whose defense many more shall. So that those sacrifices not be made in vain, and so that those in posterity not suffer the oppression Herr Goodell and his minions would visit upon all of us, we must not and will not stand for any principle which sanctions the use of force or threat of force, be it economic or otherwise, against the sovereignty and independence of other leagues.
Such a principle, stripped of all disguise, is surely the mere primitive doctrine that might is right, and if this principle were established through the world of athletics, the freedom of our own league and of the whole of professional sports would be in danger. But far more than this, the athletes and thus the peoples of the world would be kept in a bondage of fear, and all hopes of settled peace and of security, of justice and liberty, among players and owners would be ended.
This is the ultimate issue which confronts us. For the sake of all that we ourselves hold dear, and of the world order and peace, it is unthinkable that we should refuse to meet the challenge. It is to this high purpose that I now call my people at home and my peoples across the seas, even those of you who do not know American football who will make our cause their own. I ask them to stand calm and firm and united in this time of trial. I ask them to stand firm and united with the American footballers even should they not understand their ways; for failing to stand now with the Americans surely means standing soon with our own footballers on the pitches of our realm and sovereign Britannia.
The task will be hard. There may be dark days ahead, and war can no longer be confined to the negotiating table, but we can only do the right as we see the right, and reverently commit our cause to the purity of sport and to God. If one and all we keep resolutely faithful to those cornerstones and to the Almighty, if we one and all remain ready for whatever service or sacrifice this struggle may demand, then with God’s help we shall prevail.
May He bless and keep us all.
– King George VI