In the Mix

December 1, 2017

Take a Knee

I’m not sure what delayed me writing this post considering the subject matter… Maybe because its was so much in the news and I tend to avoid all things news – NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS – But now that the dust has settled, it IS time to give it an audience…

So Colin Kaepernick started this controversy by refusing to stand for the pledge of allegiance before his football games last season… His intention was to shine a light on police brutality against people of color and racial discrimination.

The word is that after he got some backlash, he consulted a friend who was a military veteran. He asked what would be the most respectful way to make his point and the veteran told him to take a knee. So he started taking a knee…

He did it for the rest of the season with a few compatriots, but, mostly on his own. Then for this NFL season, he was shut out by every team. Maybe the owners thought the problem would go away if HE went away. The problem has gotten worse and now THE OWNERS are in the protest…

Additionally, President Donald John Trump has decided to weigh in as well. He thinks taking a knee is disrespectful to the flag and to our military. The voices of the military have been divided – some say it is disrespectful… some say it represents exactly what they fought for this country over… The right to express yourself freely.

The national anthem is a symbol of our solidarity as a nation… much like the pledge of allegiance. They are supposed give us iconic moments as one regardless of color or faith or politics. These are the moments when we are all Americans… all the same.

But, some of the same people who sing the national anthem and pledge their allegiance to the flag use racial epithets, unite as white supremacists and wave confederate flags.

The first amendment is freedom of speech to include freedom of the press and the right to protest peacefully. Colin Kaepernick has met this standard.

Then there is the debate over whether these kinds of actions are appropriate while in the workplace…

Many say because Colin Kaepernick is in the workplace, he should have to follow the guidelines set forth by company policy and that political/social statements don’t belong in the workplace.

But then the next question becomes, does that mean the first amendment does not apply to the workplace?

Many employers use their company policies as justifications for their decisions. What most people don’t consider, however, is that each company policy is based on preferences by that employer, not necessarily the law. It’s highly possible that a company policy may not stand up in a court of law if challenged. It’s basically akin to opinion.

And this is where Colin Kaepernick’s story continues. He is now suing the NFL for collusion; Depriving him of his first amendment rights and loss of income. A court of law will now decide how comprehensive the first amendment really is.

Back to the court of public opinion, the game of football is taking a hit. Viewership is down sharply and sentiment about NFL leadership is at an all time low.

Now we can’t put all of the blame for the NFL’s problems on Colin Kaepernick. In the last few years, we’ve seen the NFL handle domestic violence and other criminal behavior poorly, but, make a firm decision on end zone celebrations. Priorities…

This is again, a diversity issue. Most of the NFL owners are old, white men while most of the players are young, black men. Did you know that more than 70 percent of NFL players are black men? These are demographics at odds… At the very least, the owners are not speaking to the needs of their employee base. And they wonder why it’s leading to insurrection?

We live in a country where the majority has always controlled the conversation. So why is the majority not dictating this conversation? These are some of the questions the owners and Commissioner Roger Goodell will need to ask themselves to move forward.

I can continue to present facts for either side of this debate, but, at the end of the day, each American has to decide for themselves what kind of American they want to be and what American values they choose to honor. Notice I did use the word choose…

Let’s be glad that we can…




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