Last night I watched the second episode of “Huckabee,” a new Christian variety show on TBN featuring former Governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee. The show opened with a monologue in which he discusses his views on Colin Kaepernick’s protesting police mistreatment of African Americans at NFL football games by refusing to stand for the National Anthem. Huckabee spoke of the repercussions of the protests such as loss of income for the NFL due to fans boycotting the game, etc. I personally was not aware all of that was happening as a result of the protest. Therefore, I kept listening to see what other interesting things he had to say.
As I listened to the Governor’s remarks, I was surprised when he revealed a perspective on this issue that I had not thought of before. He stated that the fact that Mr. Kaepernick was protesting was not a problem. That is the way the constitution is set up. We have freedom of speech and the right to peacefully protest. The problem that Huckabee had was that the protest was being done at a place of work.
Football players are getting paid millions of dollars to do what they do on the field. The stadium is their place of WORK. Therefore, they do not have the right to protest at WORK when they are under contract. Also, I believe I heard the Governor say that they agreed in their contract to respect the flag and the National Anthem.
For example, I work at the Christian Broadcasting Network. My employer has certain expectations and standards regarding behavior in the workplace. What if I decided to stage a protest at work in the middle of my workday? Or wear an inflammatory, distracting T-shirt to make a point? Do they not have the right to expect me to refrain from protesting at their place of business where they make the rules? After all, they do pay my salary.
Even in the civil rights days when those who fought for freedom from oppression and the abolition of Jim Crow Laws protested, they didn’t do it while on their employer’s time clock. Rosa Parks staged a protest on a bus, not on her job. Protestors sat in at lunch counters, but not while they were at work. Thousands of people marched on Washington, but they were not protesting on their employer’s dime or at the employer’s workplace. Do NOT get me wrong. Where would African Americans be if protests would not have been staged? If Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had not organized peaceful protests? Yes, protests are necessary to facilitate change, but not in the workplace where you are getting paid millions of dollars to do what you do.
The fact that there are inordinate numbers of Black men being unnecessarily shot by police is worthy of protest. First, let me say that I believe that the majority of policemen are good public servants. Unfortunately, there are a few in the bunch that ARE bad, and that puts police officers in general in a bad light. Even though there are some bad apples, WE STILL NEED THE POLICE. What if there were no police?? This society would be in total chaos! However, good cops need to be celebrated, and bad cops need to be identified and eliminated because their bias impedes their ability to do their job effectively.
I recently ran across a YouTube video where President Barack Obama was asked what he thought about Mr. Kaepernicks protest in the form of kneeling during the National Anthem. In that video, the president presents both sides of the argument. He points out that it’s understandable that the family members of those who have sacrificed their lives defending this country would be hurt and upset when someone chooses to not stand for the National Anthem. However, those family members should also understand that family members of African American men who have been unnecessarily killed by policemen without justice being served are also hurting.
What I took away from that video is that each side needs to acknowledge and understand one another’s pain and then work together to effect change that will alleviate each other’s pain. It is foolish to let our pain blind us as well as divide us. This is truly something to think about. The point is that both sides need to be heard and understood. The common ground is that there is pain that needs to be expressed and taken into consideration, and again, we desperately need to work together to bring about change where necessary.
Governor Huckabee says that one of the ways NFL players can effect change is to run for public office. Since they have notoriety, huge platforms, and a lot of money, they could easily run for a government office and probably win. That way they can use their influence to change things from the inside. However, if NFL players want to stage a protest, they should consider doing it on their own time, outside of the stadium where they work, are getting paid, and are under contract.
Biblically speaking, we should do our job as unto the Lord (Colossians 3:23). To protest at a job site and not adhere to the agreements in a signed contract is not operating in the spirit of that verse. Therefore, I support Mr. Kaepernick in his right to protest. I support the reason for his protest. However, I can’t support his choice to protest in the workplace.
How do you feel about this matter pertaining to protest in the NFL? Please leave a comment below.