Why is it that Tim Tebow had to deal with the fall out between his faith and football? This issue was an intersection that sparked debate over religion in the NFL. I never understood this. Receivers dance and waive gestures in the end zone when they run in a touchdown, so why can’t someone take a knee just the same? And I am not just advocating for Christian Faith, but all Faith. Yes, all that jazz earns penalties and fines, but sometimes expressions are simply just that. Expressions. That was November 2011.
Now fast forward to 2016 and the NFL allowing Colin Kaepernick to kneel during our Nation’s most patriotic anthem because of what he deems unfair and unjust treatment of African Americans and minorities here in the US. He simply says he has no pride in our flag, because of the racial injustice going on all around. When this first occurred, this statement was released by the NFL.
The 49ers issued a statement about Kaepernick's decision: "The national anthem is and always will be a special part of the pre-game ceremony. It is an opportunity to honor our country and reflect on the great liberties we are afforded as its citizens. In respecting such American principles as freedom of religion and freedom of expression, we recognize the right of an individual to choose and participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem." The NFL made their statement. Right or Wrong, they spoke about freedoms in our Country. The Result:
The Sporting News article says "Nearly one-third (32 percent) of adults say they're less likely to watch NFL game telecasts because of the Kaepernick-led player protests against racial injustice, according to Rasmussen's telephone/online survey of 1,000 American adults conducted Oct. 2-3. Only 13 percent said they were more likely to watch an NFL game because of continuing protests by Kaepernick and supporters such as Antonio Cromartie of the Colts (who was cut only two days after raising a fist during the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" in London on Sunday)."
Now rewind back to the Tebow days: According to the Daily Sentinel, “Tebowing sweeps the nation.” The Sentinel notes that Tebowing has become such a major trend that it has even helped to divert attention at times away from Tebow’s failures on the field:
He gets blitzed. He gets sacked. We have no idea what he’s going to throw or not throw next ... but we know this:
And yet Tim Tebow is no longer in the NFL. Some say due to lack of talent. Maybe, but maybe not.
To his most fervent supporters — and there are many — Tebow was never just a quarterback. He was a champion of Christianity in shoulder pads, a wholesome, fearsome football player who loved God and touchdowns, in that order. If detractors found Tebow preachy, if he seemed too good to be true, he still won two national championships and a Heisman Trophy at the University of Florida, securing his legend as one of the greatest college players ever. But yet the debate was reduced to a basic all out consensus that there was No Room for Religion in the NFL. Kurt Warner was quoted as saying: The role religion plays here is enormous,”“When somebody professes their faith, and I was that guy for a long time, people automatically think when you praise God it’s because He makes passes go straighter or helps win games. When you lose, they say, your faith doesn’t belong here. Your God’s not helping you win.”
Why do I tie these issues together? So while my personal beliefs would NEVER ever allow me to kneel during our anthem, or show disrespect, I have to wonder if silently protesting (for any cause) is still a part of our inalienable rights? It should be, we still have a Constitution in this Country.
Yesterday, Decorated US Navy Admiral, Harry Harris’ remarks generated a lengthy standing ovation from the thousands gathered on a pier across the harbor from where the USS Arizona sank during the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.
“You can bet that the men and women we honor today – and those who died that fateful mourning 75 years ago – never took a knee and never failed to stand whenever they heard our national anthem being played,”
You have Senator Elizabeth Warren saying this:
"None of us can ignore what is happening in this country. Not when our black friends, family, neighbors literally fear dying in the streets." Warren said. "This is the reality all of us must confront, as uncomfortable and ugly as that reality may be. It comes to us to once again affirm that black lives matter, that black citizens matter, that black families matter."
Both True, and All Powerful!
So I am seeing that the National Football League with 32 teams and a net worth this year of over 74.8 Billion Dollars and all by the way loosing ratings as we speak. I believe there are ways to try to find consensus. We as a Nation must collectively find common ground. I believe we do have a right to speak out and or non-violently protest about issues that are important in our Country. The NFL is so large, and can utilize the power it has for both the good and the bad. I have to sit back and wonder, by them taking positions on issues of such a powerful topics as Religion and Civil Rights, if they have started the decline of the very power on which they were founded?
To close, I would like us to all think about a very famous John F Kennedy quote, putting our political party beliefs aside: “Without debate, without criticism no administration and no country can succeed and no republic can survive.”
― John F. Kennedy