Brainerd airport official wanted plane ban until players stand

In central Minnesota, the Brainerd Airports Commission has decided not to get involved in the NFL players’ protest against racial inequity.

A commission member urged the full board to oppose any Super Bowl-bound planes landing in Brainerd until the NFL enforces its rule requiring players to stand during the National Anthem, the Brainerd Dispatch reports. Players have been kneeling to protest racial inequity and, more recently, President Donald Trump’s assertion that they should be fired for exercising their right to express their displeasure.

There’s about as much chance of a plane being diverted to Brainerd during next January’s Super Bowl in Minneapolis as there is the NFL giving a rip about what the Brainerd Airports Commission thinks.

But Commission member Jeff Czeczok gave it a shot anyway yesterday when he made a motion during a meeting to protest any diversions until the NFL enforces its rule. Nobody offered a second so the effort failed.

The only way flights would be diverted to Brainerd is if weather in the Twin Cities prevented their landing. But local authorities have no veto power to prevent planes from landing at federally funded airports, and they certainly wouldn’t have it based on the political affiliation or philosophy of those aboard or the NFL.

“I just would like to remind the people sitting at this table that, you know, we have a national organization that has team members kneeling down during our national anthem,” Czeczok said.

His colleagues agreed with him but said he was going about his own protest the wrong way.

“As long as the film crews and the media keep spotlighting the fact that this guy didn’t stand and this guy didn’t stand, they’re going to keep doing it,” commission member Marty Johnson said. “The media is the problem.”