Monday, September 25, 2017

NFL Players should have been on TWO knees during the Anthem.

One knee reflects on the National Anthem.   Two knees would have used the sacred (religion) to question the sacred (the nation.)

How dare they insult us and our Anthem!
It is hard to whip up conservative audiences against men on their knees in prayer to God.  

Trump is winning with his speeches and tweets condemning the NFL players for taking a knee during the National Anthem.  Crowds who cheered Tim Tebow for bringing religion onto the field condemn NFL players for bringing criticism of racism onto the field.  What is going on?

Psychologist Jonathan Haidt sheds some insight on football and Trump’s audiences who cheered him when he said the refs were destroying football by stopping head-crashing “beautiful tackles” and his condemnation of player protests during the National Anthem.  Haidt observes that all humans (great apes, too) have a certain inborn moral values: a sense of fairness and a sense that it is wrong to do harm.   Liberals and conservatives share those.

But conservatives have, to a much stronger degree than liberals, three additional moral senses:  group identity, respect for authority, and desire for purity/sanctity.  

Football fans—and the crowds cheering Trump when he says the team owners should “fire the sons of bitches” who don’t stand for the National Anthem—are demonstrating their three conservative values.  Liberals can be tone deaf to what is motivating Trump’s audiences. They aren’t cheering for brain damage; they are cheering for a branded uniformed warrior s showing courage in fighting for their team’s colors, college, city.  They are watching group identity celebrated and defended.  Go Bears! 

Telling owners to fire players is a defense of authority.  They are employees and should know their place.

They can fix this
The players’ failure to stand for the National Anthem is an affront to group identity and the sacredness of the National Anthem.  

Trump is defending the group, authority, and the sacred, the three moral values.  Conservative crowds roar approval.

Here is what NFL players can do.   Take two knees.   Pray, not protest.   Say they are praying that America be better, and that God would lead Americans to fairness and justice to all its citizens.

As it is, NFL players are positioned as refusing to join the group--Americans showing respect for America,and they are committing sacrilege, by not standing for the National Anthem.   They stand outside the group, insulting the group.  Bad positioning.

Two knees would change the message.  They would be inside the religious group praying for reform of the national group. That means they are protesting from the inside, wanting purity.  Currently Trump is using the sacred as a weapon.  Two knees would turn the tables.  It would be the NFL players using the sacred as their weapon of judgement.

Hard to jeer this.
It isn't too late. Even if the players are not themselves religious, do it anyway.  Have a Christian minister be a spokesman.  Henry IV of France resolved a religious war: Paris vaut une messe.”  Paris is worth a mass.  Drop to the second knee.  

The message will change and so will the politics of this.



  1. This knee thing is starting to spread. First it was one player, now close to half the guys in the league. Holding arms as a show of unity also is spreading. So, what are they protesting? Racial injustice, something Trump seems to be in favor of. Instead of being what a President should be, a nation builder, he acts to divide the nation. I wonder how history will treat him.

    He is also upset that the refs are trying to reduce the violence in the league. He doesn't like it. He likes the manly part of a great hit. Well, back in 1905, football was almost outlawed. Teddy Roosevelt was so upset about the violence (his own son was severely hurt), that he called a meeting with the heads of Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. He told them to chance the rules so there would be less deaths and injury. In 1905 alone 18 players died on the field, hundreds of others horribly injured. That was before the NFL, which came into existence in 1920. The game was far different than today. Many colleges gave up football to play other less gruesome sports. There was no passing, so players waited for the run and piled up on each other, gouging out eyes, kicking in the head, etc.

    The best rule chance was allowing the forward pass. That spread the players out on the field. They made the first down marker 10 yards instead of 5 like before. That helped. Remember, there was no helmet back then. Or facemask. It was more like Rugby today.

    When I played, back in the early 60's, I wore a leather helmet. It didn't protect much. Very few of our players ever had a head injury because you wouldn't dare hit someone with your head. You'd get killed. So, we only used our shoulders. Maybe that's an answer to today's concussion problem. Try using a leather helmet.

    In 1942 a friend of my family was a lineman for the Detroit Lions. They were playing the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field in Chicago. At halftime, several Lions and several Bears lined up at midfield to be sworn into the Army. When the nation was attacked, they showed unity.

    Today unity is showing up on the field again, but for a very different reason. The majority of players in the NFL are black and they know the injustices that most white people have never experienced. Standing up (or in this case kneeling down)for what you believe is never easy.

    Some people say Love it or Leave it. That's not the answer. The answer is Love it or CHANGE it. Perhaps that might happen. It's probably way overdue.

  2. Trump comes down hard on NFL players. This needs to be shut down, and fast. It has the feeling of a revolt. He thinks it's a management/employee issue, but underestimates the power of the players who are not underlings but partners in teams.

  3. Amen, brother. Morally outflank them.


Thanks for commenting. I am experimenting by allowing unfiltered comments. Warning. Some people write stupid, obscene things. I will delete them when I see them, but you might encounter them.

Do not include comments with links. I will delete those comments. If you really want to refer people to a link, then email me directly with your comment. I don’t want readers to be directed to weird third-party places, or mal-ware.