Taking a Knee and Taking the Consequences

   Written by on September 28, 2017 at 11:07 am

There is some football player who has decided to protest something or the other by not standing for the National Anthem.

Now, I support his right to peacefully protest. That is what America is all about.

I would feel better about his protest if he were actively trying to make a difference but this is just another case of symbolism over substance.  Still, he and only he gets to make his choices.

No one should be forced to salute our flag or stand for the National Anthem.  That would be anti-American.

On the other hand, all of us will suffer the consequences for our actions.  While he has the right to protest he doesn’t have the right to cause damage to his teammates and employer in the process.  He also doesn’t have the right to use his job as a venue for his personal protest.

While he has the right to protest (on his own time) his employer has the right to say, “If you don’t stand you don’t play.”

When he is “off the clock” he has rights that he doesn’t have when he is at work.

Americans have more rights than any other country. However, those rights are limited by how they affect others.  There are many things that are guaranteed legal and moral American rights that we cannot do at work.

Our bosses can mandate dress codes. Our bosses can limit hair length and facial hair. Our bosses can insist on safety standards. Our laws prohibit sexual harassment at work but sexual harassment is not illegal at a bar unless you work there.

Your boss has reasonable controls on your conduct while you are at work and no control of your conduct out of work unless it affects your job.

There was once an employee of a local company who missed every Monday because of sports injuries over the weekend. His boss called him in. “Your weekend is none of my business,” he said, “unless it affects my business.  You have to decide if you are going to play games or work.”

The football player was  “on the job” protesting.  That isn’t right. Suppose he had said, “I am going to take a knee” every time the National Anthem is played, and then someone starts playing it in the middle of the game.

I am tired of people who want to take a stand and then whine about the consequences.  This applies to protestors, counter-protestors, politicians and all the rest. The only thing worse is the guy who takes a stand and then when the consequences begin starts to back-track.

There will be financial consequences for this player’s actions. Fans have the right to choose not to watch the game. Fans have the right to vote with their dollars. What isn’t right is that his employer and co-workers will be punished for his actions. What about their rights?

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