cover photo credit: Gene Herrick/AP
“The allegiance of God fearers to the mission of God (partnering to usher in Shalom) must always supersede their national identities.”
“Paint a vivid picture for the world to see – it will change the winds of public opinion.”
– Jim Wallis, God’s Politics
To clarify, I absolutely object to and disagree with Trump’s statements about taking a knee during the National Anthem and pretty much everything else he has ever uttered.
That does not mean, however, that I agree with all the hype and conversation around #Takeaknee.
We must go further. There is much more to be done. And so I challenge the heroism of taking a knee with an invitation…
…a real conversation about the #TakeAKnee protest.
Confession #1: I am a white male. By no means do I claim to identify with or speak for communities of color.
Having confessed that, please never relate what Rosa Parks did to professional athletes taking a knee on a football field. EVER. NEVER. EVER.
Taking a knee is a slap in the face to people like her who directly stood up to oppression. Rosa Parks actually risked something.
She broke a white man’s law.
She was ridiculed.
She risked everything!
How does a professional football player’s 1 minute and 30 seconds of kneeling equate? The moment that song is over they’re up, on the field, making millions of dollars. They’re right back to working for profit driven organizations that cannot relate to, nor care to relate to the racial injustice of this country.
Professional football players have risked nothing by taking a knee!
Confession #2: While I had no issue with what Colin Kaepernick did, I took (still somewhat do) great issue with him being portrayed as a hero. He was the epitome of Empire, at least until recently. He was in Beats by Dre commercials calling himself the man. He owned thousands of expensive sneakers. He bought into Empire hard. I was not a fan. BUT, it turns out, at the beginning of this year he donated his entire shoe collection to organizations working with homeless individuals. So, it sounds like he is stepping out of Empire. I am excited to see how he continues to orient his life toward Shalom.
That being said, a professional athlete that merely takes a knee is not hero.
I disagree with one of my favorite prophetic voices on this point; kneeling does not help others stand up. Collective bargaining does.
Again, I disagree. NFL players taking a knee do not come close to the work of Martin Luther King, Jr. or Rosa Parks or the Freedom Riders.
And when our modern-day prophets (like Shane Claiborne or Dr. Barber) show bias by overstating the saintliness of taking a knee on a football field, we end up fighting over low-hanging fruit rather than dismantling injustice.
What can real protest look like?
NFL players and other professional athletes make hundreds of thousands of dollars to millions of dollars. Are they willing to put that on-the-line?
Are they willing to sacrifice like Rosa Parks. Like MLK, Jr.? Like the Freedom Riders?
If so, there is much more they can do to ensure BLACK LIVES MATTER.
They can to refuse to play. NO MATTER the consequence, they can fully protest playing in any game televised on Fox (2017 FOX NFL BROADCAST SCHEDULE). Why Fox? Because that network continues to fuel the propaganda and hatred that Trump is speaking.
Do you want change? Be it.
You are on a stage that can make demands. Do it.
But you’ll have to be willing to risk everything.
Force the NFL to release their contracts with Fox. Stop supporting and funding the propaganda.
It’s how this kingdom works. Take away their profit.
I will stand with you in that.
A man sincerely hoping professional athletes paint a vivid picture for the world to see