Irrational and often unintelligible comments about NFL players have inundated social media following the NFL games from this past weekend. Spurred by inflammatory and derogatory posts on Twitter by President Donald Trump, quite a few people felt it was time to start dishing out personal attacks that included hate speech in many instances.

Many of the people complaining appear to feel proud to issue statements about how athletes and celebrities should “shut up” and do their jobs. It is often the case that these comments are used in conjunction with accusations that people should keep their political opinions to themselves.

What follows is usually a secondary post where that person tries to impress their own political views on anyone who will listen.

Blog writer Kate Johns says all NFL players are thugs

“The NFL hires thugs to play their testosterone overloaded games – that’s why the NFL is paying them millions a game and that’s why the NFL is ignoring Americans. NFL players, who are uneducated thugs, are hired to do their jobs, and not force their opinions down our throats.” Those words were expressed by a blog writer going by the name “Kate Johns” on Facebook. It has been accompanied by a number of posts about a continued boycott of the NFL this season.

This extremely low level of discourse is nothing new and it is very familiar to anyone who has protested or tried to force people to have the difficult conversations necessary to instill change.

Kate Johns appears either unwilling or unable to have those difficult conversations, choosing instead to lash out at people who disagree with her, often in a hypocritical fashion that leaves readers at a loss. The divisive rhetoric helps nobody. Attempts to contact Kate Johns went unanswered.

NFL players and coaches are easy targets

Playing a professional sport and doing so on television makes most athletes easy targets and susceptible to over-the-top criticism. Football players are no exception, as they play a brutal game, with their mistakes on the field magnified for everyone to see during a short 16-game schedule.

Now, it seems that even having an opinion will be used against them, whether they choose to kneel, stay in the locker room during the National Anthem, or even fight for our country. Maybe bloggers like Kate Johns doesn’t know about the NFL players who have risked their lives for this country? Maybe if she did, she wouldn’t call them thugs? Maybe.

When the Dallas Cowboys found some middle-ground by kneeling before a game against the Arizona Cardinals on Sept. 25, it still didn’t sit well with the people complaining on social media. This is despite the fact that they all stood during the singing of the National Anthem. It led to even more discord, suggesting ulterior motives by people attacking NFL players. While America is based on everyone having the freedom of expression, thought, and opinion, maybe there are better ways to express those freedoms than to tear other people down?