Wow! It took the QB of America’s Team to get it right in a big way on Friday, July 27th! I’m talking about the Anthem debacle that we’ve endured the last few seasons. For me personally and I’d like to think for many who read my posts that when we turn on any NFL game, we want pure unadulterated football. We don’t want the play by play announcer and the game analysts to be talking about the players kneeling. Its an opportunity on Sunday’s to spend anywhere from 3.5 hours to 10 hours watching football away from the grind of our daily lives. We get freedom from our personal issues & problems. We get to sit down with friends, have a big wedge, have a few pizza’s, chips and for some, a nice cold adult beverage. We don’t have to think about our day jobs, our financial situations nor our individual health or that of loved ones. Yes, its an escape to watch talented men show us something we’ve perhaps never seen before in our lifetime on the gridiron! Remember that catch by ODB III, albeit against the Cowboys. Not the most important catch, but easily the most amazing catch, I’d ever seen. Or the comeback win in the SB by New England against the Falcons. Ah, the beauty of watching the unknown and special performances.
In the above press interview Dak was asked about the anthem situation and the position laid out a day earlier by Jerry & Stephen. Dak made it clear that he didn’t view an NFL game as the proper venue. Dak said all the things I feel about the situation, that it distracts from the joy of the game. Here’s a quote from Dak’s interview:“I never protest during the anthem and I don’t think that’s the time or venue to do so. The game of football has always brought me such at peace and I think it does the same for a lot of people playing the game, watching the game and a lot of people that have any impact of the game. So when you bring such a controversy to the stadium, to the field, to the game … it takes away. It takes away from the joy and to the love that football brings a lot of people.
My position from early on regarding the kneeling is that players have a totally different & IMO a better way to seek change and only a few have taken it. NFL players have the means, the time and the celebrity status to get involved at the local & national level. They can get their face in front of cameras at the drop of a hat! They can meet with state and local officials at the very least. From there, I can foresee the players or the NFLPA getting a front and center meeting with the Senate or even higher up the chain of the governmental ladder. Heck, if people such as Elton John, George Clooney, Bono, Charlton Heston & even the one and only, Elmo, have appeared before Congress, then why not the leaders of the NFLPA or any of the high profile players?
An NFL player has plenty of time available as compared to the average person to invest their resources to any worthy cause. The players are paid quite well, some way more than others of course, which gives them the means to travel anywhere they need to be, to support and promote social awareness & pursue changes. If that’s not enough, let’s also remember that the NFL has put up approximately 90M over seven years to enable players to become active in the pursuit of change.
We did see a few players, most notably, Malcolm Jenkins, that has gotten involved this way and I tip my cap to the few that did put their money, time and heart into dealing with the problems in a more constructive way. Watching someone kneel for 90 seconds while on the clock, pales in comparison to putting in their own time to push for “change”. Then I’m really impressed that it wasn’t just a moment of camera time or a sound bite. What makes a player so honored and revered is when they put their time to giving back in some way to the community. Some do it at their old school or the town they grew up in or others for a cause, close to their heart. We are all aware of what a high profile player like JJ Watt was able to do for the people in the Houston area following the floods there. We have one player on the Cowboys roster that very few may be aware has a foundation, near and dear to him. Kavon Frazier has started the Frazier Cares Foundation. How many of you have heard of it? How many of you contribute? I won’t tell you what its about, go find out for yourself at www.fraziercares.com and if you’re so moved hit the tab for donations.
I clearly look at the Star Spangled Banner in a different way than many in the media. Personally, I prefer “God Bless America”, the old & original anthem and would very much like to see us return to GBA! We live in a crazy world where we’ve become accustomed to countries threatening us openly & brazenly. We’ve endured “Rocket Man’s” testing missiles and making it clear he wants to wipe out the USA, at least until recently. We have Iran threatening to kill all the infidels and recently they stated they’d take us out too. Naturally, we have an adversary in Russia, a super power, who has the fire power to actually end the world as we know it. So for me, no matter our political views, our ethnic background, the color of our skin, our religious beliefs, we as Americans should stand united against all enemies. Didn’t we all come together on 9/11? We let the world know we will always lock arms against all that have visions of hurting us. That’s how it should be and to me, that opportunity is there every time the anthem is played at every sporting event. Stand tall and united!
Unfortunately, that safe space that so many of us enjoy on Sundays was hijacked by one particular player, Colin Kaepernick and before long others followed. Now I’m not saying that he didn’t have a very real issue that hopefully disturbed millions of Americans. We all have the right to protest.. I grew up in the 60’s and certainly saw my share of the fun. But he invaded the last bastion of temporary freedom for us sports enthusiasts. To me, it was the wrong place and time. By all means use your influence as a sports celebrity to battle an issue worth fighting for on your own time. The statements at first were very polarizing, but eventually the narrative moved toward social injustice focusing on black lives ended at the hands of police. Without question there were videos that had to make every person deeply upset at what they saw with their own eyes.
There’s no denying that we live in a country where much is made of one’s identity on numerous levels. That unfortunately makes some people, maybe many people be wary of one another because of color or ethnic background. I grew up in the Bronx in New York and I can clearly tell you that’s how you were looked at every day. I went to a school which had a very dominant ethnic background which was different than mine. Because of my nationality there was a target on my back. We did have one other person that shared the same ethnicity, but honestly, she was quite pretty and well, I wasn’t, so the guys left her alone. Not much has changed in over 50 years in many places and likely has gotten worse. Back then it was enough to slap someone around to get their anger out, but now things have gotten to the point of hateful, destructive and sometimes with fatal results. There are those out there who promote violence against others. Heck, there are times I get snide remarks while wearing my Cowboys bucket hat, but so far nothing has elevated beyond that. Its disturbing to see things happen in neighborhoods, schools, the work place and wherever evil lives.
I had the good fortune a little over two years ago at our church to listen to a guest speaker, Ken Ham and his organization is Answers In Genesis. You may have heard of him as the driving force behind building the precise replica of Noah’s Ark in Kentucky. But I want to share his message, that if every American listened to, might change their view and soften their heart in some capacity toward their fellow man. Yes, there’s a religious message here, but that’s not the reason I’ve posted this. The takeaway that I’d like you to be aware of is that, we are all, each and every one of us descendants of Adam & Eve. Ham goes on to prove scientifically & mathematically, that no matter the pigment of our skin, the color of our hair, our eyes, our height, etc, that it all started with two people. Bottom line, we are all related by blood, albeit over thousands of years. If you have a little time and think this important enough to learn a way of being more accepting of others, then watch Ken Hams presentation of “One Blood, One Race”! It will certainly make you think. I’d like the NFL players to share it in communities where they are looking to reach people regarding social injustices that need to be addressed and dramatically improved!
On Sundays, between September and early February, let us get back to enjoying our football and only our football!