“He who does not understand your silence will probably not understand your words.”
In the last 12 months, as far as I am concerned, there has been one normal thing to happen. Tom Brady won the Super Bowl! In a world of the weird it’s nice to have at least one constant.
This past week there was one of those stories that just tell me how really dumb a person can be. A lady wants to sue the company that makes Gorilla Glue because she sprayed Gorilla Glue on her hair like hairspray and had to go to the hospital because a person with any sense of common sense would understand that Gorilla Glue is not hair spray. We no longer live in a world where common sense is s staple of human existence. Perhaps it never was, and we just didn’t know.
Perhaps the same weird things always happened and we just didn’t have social media to let us all in, in a world where ignorance was the norm.
But for me one of the biggest stories of the year went relatively unnoticed by many people. Like so much of the last couple of years it involves something that was so standard and taken for granted that nobody paid that much attention. It involves the simple playing of the National Anthem before a simple sporting contest. Boy, the days where that was simply a nice patriotic gesture seems like so long ago.
To kneel or not to kneel. Nobody gave it much thought until one man’s personal act kind of revolutionized the game, so to speak. It hasn’t been the same since Colin Kaepernick and that one simple act to kneel during the pregame ritual.
Let me be perfectly clear about how I personally feel when I hear the National Anthem. I stand at attention with my hand over my heart and always feel a sense of patriotism and pride. I always will.
I had no animosity against Colin Kaepernick for his simple act of protest to make a statement about how he felt. It made me feel a bit uncomfortable, but in my life, I have seen many forms of protest. I have seen people killed, cities burned, and horrible periods of protests that were horrible to witness.
I have always had one strong belief about such things. I support all forms of silent and peaceful protest. I have personally witnessed way too many of all other forms of protest. Peaceful and silent protests have always been my favorite form.
I also understand the backlash to the kneeling during the Star-Spangled Banner protest. I was in no way surprised at the anger and reaction. It made me feel a bit uncomfortable as well.
I remember when I was in the Navy and on base when the flag was lowered. I would stand there and witness on many evenings all the service men/women who would stand at attention and it was an amazing sight. Perhaps no other moment during my time did it hit me more how proud I was to be an American at that simple daily routine that happens every day on a military base.
I suspect that I cannot foresee a time in the distant future where such a universal moment will occur. Putting the genie back in the bottle never seems to be possible.
At the direction of team owner Mark Cuban, the Star-Spangled Banner was no longer being played before the tipoff at home games.
It took 13 games with no anthem played before it became a story. In an interview Cuban said no final decision had been made to not play it. He cited there were a lot of discussions within the community that many people felt the National Anthem did not fully represent them. He also noted that there never was a decision to never play the anthem again.
This past week the NBA reiterated that it was policy that all teams play the anthem before a game. Mark Cuban has agreed, and the anthem will once again be played.
Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick tweeted that Cuban, “sell the franchise and some Texas Patriots will buy it.” He even plans to introduce a bill that would make it state law that the National Anthem be played at all events that receive public funding.
It is also noteworthy that the NBA’s rulebook requires that all players stand during the National Anthem, but so far, the NBA commissioner has refused to enforce that rule.
Owner Cuban has expressed his support for his players who decided to kneel during the playing of the National Anthem. Cuban said this week, “Our hope is that going forward people will take the same passion they have for this issue and apply the same amount of energy to listen to those who feel differently from them. Then we can move forward and have courageous conversations that move this country forward and find what unites us.”
The passion for this issue will certainly burn deeply and passionately on all sides. Like many, I much prefer when politics and sports do not cross over.
At the very least I hope that normalcy will return to the routine.