My wife asked me to spend some time and share my thoughts on the current situation between the President and the NFL.
I thought it was an interesting request as I hadn’t really shared any thoughts on the matter up to this point, but let me begin.
I’ve never been a believer in allowing people to burn the flag or disrespect the National Anthem. In my opinion, America is our home and it’s our teamwork and unity that has made us the greatest nation on earth.
I agree with Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints when he told The New York Times, “I will always feel that if you are an American that the national anthem is the opportunity for us all to stand up together, to be unified and to show respect for our country.”
But what should happen when our country is broken?
At some point, Americans need to decide where they stand.
Well, the NFL players and owners are making a stand.
Personally, I don’t view taking a knee or locking arms as a sign of disrespect. In fact, its actually a fairly effective method of conveying disapproval while not being disruptive or confrontational.
I am sure my Jewish grandfather who served in WWII fighting Nazis would prefer NFL Players taking a knee during the National Anthem to armed Nazis march in the streets, carrying the Confederate flag and shouting messages of hate and violence outside the oldest synagogue in Charlottesville.
This is not why he fought for freedom.
This is not why my brothers and sisters in arms have put themselves in harm’s way to protect our freedom.
I’ve heard the argument that somehow these NFL players taking a knee are disrespecting the men and women of our Armed Forces. As you may have read, in 2009, the government actually contributed money to several sports leagues so they would do more with the National Anthem as a sign of Patriotism – and the NFL players have been supportive.
But now these players, through abstaining from the National Anthem are sending a clear message to the President and our nation. In the words of the Seattle Seahawks
“We will not stand for the injustice that has plagued people of color in this country. Out of love for our country and in honor of the sacrifices made on our behalf, we unite to oppose those that would deny our most basic freedoms. We remain committed to continuing to work towards equality and justice for all.”
So how are Americans supposed to express their disapproval of the status quo?
How do we get our leader, President Trump, to understand and address the underlying problem?
The harsh reality is that people of color do not have the same level of freedom as white Americans.
If you’ve spent any time following the messages of the Dalai Lama, Gandhi, Bob Marley, or the Old Testament, then you must know that as a community we can not be truly free until everyone is free from oppression.
No American should ever feel like their freedom is at risk because of the color of their skin.
I think about the future of this country and it’s not Donald Trump, but rather my kids.
My kids don’t see race. They see their friends and teammates.
If I asked them whether or not they wanted to take a knee to support their classmates, they would immediately take a knee.