Because I am a strong advocate of people expressing their voices in political discourse - CIVIL discourse, what I am posting may seem contradictory. Exercising our First Amendment right comes with wisdom and discretion. There is a proper time and place for everything we say and do. Recently the venues and institutions that have historically been "safe places" that we as Americans could come together in unity to celebrate and escape the many serious issues of life have become political platforms. Long gone are the days when we can simply sink into a movie theater chair to escape in fiction, or cheer to the top of our lungs in the stands for our sports team. We can't even go to a concert to get lost in our favorite music without being subject to some form of political statements, propaganda and conflict. This for me is wrong on every level. Of course everyone has the right to free speech, but when customers, patrons, fans etc. pay to hear music, to watch football, to enjoy a movie, they should not be forced to be a part of someone's political protest or agenda. Companies and corporations would not allow such of their employees towards their customers and clients and neither should Hollywood, the NFL, NBA or music industry. Below is a commentary (rather long but hopefully worth your read) with my thoughts on the recent controversy and outrage over NFL players "taking a knee" at the national anthem and not honoring our flag, veterans and country. This is my opinion of course and I am sure not all agree, but hopefully it explains more of the thoughts behind the outrage. So tell me, what do you think about it all? (The link is to the original post on FB.)
To those who don't understand why some of us are upset at the NFL protests. Maybe this can explain it. I am all about 1st amendment rights, free speech etc. Here's the thing. Those players are not on that field as individuals. They are representing their corporation, their institution, their employers and their paying fans and yes even their country because they are recognized all over the world. If any of us were to stage a protest at a public event sponsored by clients or customers of our company, we would be reprimanded and/or fired. People are even fired these days for their personal views and opinions on Facebook when it goes against their employers official stance on things. Doing what they are doing while "on the clock" for the NFL is not the appropriate venue for protesting. It is a bad reflection on the sport that has historically united us all as Americans regardless of political or socioeconomic background. It is a slap in the face to those who have fought for that freedom.
Oppose oppression, oppose racism, oppose inequality but don't use the very symbol (the flag) and defenders of your freedom (veterans and soldiers) to do so. It creates a level of disrespect leaving a terrible example for those children, teens and young adults that look up to these athletes. If we don't show pride in our country, the next generation won't feel the need to defend, protect or care for it. Besides these athletes are in the top 1% making more money in a year individually than half of the fans in the stadium combined. Nothing screams oppression and inequality quite like wealthy athletes protesting right? Wrong obviously. It is a shameful lack of gratitude for freedom and opportunity by these athletes disrespecting the very venue and country that provided that for them.
What I find amazing is that those who do not understand why we are upset over the "taking a knee" protests of the flag and country, are also some of the ones who think that a lone player off to the side taking a moment to thank God on bended knee is disrespectful and that it has no place; and also don't think that a coach has the right to pray with his team for safety and protection in the locker room before coming on the field.
Funny thing is, all of the issues that the protesting players and teams say they are standing up for are not new. Why didn't any of them take a stand in the last eight years? Why don't they spend all their time and money away from the NFL to be a voice and a hand for good by doing something other than "taking a knee?" This isn't about wanting to make a change it is about using their platform to be seen and even to publicly display their hate for a President they disagree with and didn't vote for. Sports arenas, musical stages and movie theaters that we pay to attend, should not be political platforms. These are the few places where Americans can come together and celebrate life and freedom and the joys afforded us in unity.
If these athletes wanted to make a change, they would be doing it even while no one is looking like the many every day Americans that we've seen during the recent disasters. Americans who want to fight for others, to make a difference and unite America do so each and every day by serving their communities, helping their neighbors, fighting fires, patrolling streets, feeding the homeless, caring for the sick, sitting with the elderly, being mentors at boys and girls clubs and serving in the military fighting for freedom across the globe - while no one is looking and no cameras are around.
This outrage over this behavior is not about what they are doing on the field or the sidelines, but about what they are NOT doing off the field. They don't care about it "off season" or off camera - at least they haven't for the last 8+ years. This is the issue. It isn't America that is the problem, it is the hate in people's hearts that is the problem. If we are going to stand "arm in arm" like these athletes it should be FOR our country and our freedom not against it. It is disrespectful... PERIOD!