Stand, Kneel, Etc.

As many of you know, I taught school for almost thirty years. In all of those years, I only encountered one protest concerning the American flag.  Throughout the US, a school day began with the Pledge of Allegiance as everyone, teachers and students combined, stood and, in unison, said, “I pledge allegiance to the United States of America…”

On one occasion, a student in my homeroom refused to stand and recite the pledge. After he did that the first time, I asked him why he refused to stand.  He said that he was protesting America’s involvement in Viet Nam and the country’s aggressive stance throughout the world.  I was not happy with his stance, but I also understood everyone’s right to protest.

After all, in my English class I taught a unit called Books That Changed the World.  One of those books (a pamphlet, actually) was Thomas Paine’s Common Sense.  That treatise was a call for America’s thirteen colonies to break away from England and become a nation unto itself.  For Paine, this call to action just made “common sense”.

The most important impetus for this action, according to Paine, was “if a government requires you to do something you believe is morally wrong, you are morally obligated not to do it.” This is exactly what this student believed he was doing.  Would I be hypocritical to deny him that right?  I believed I would be, but I sought out higher authorities for their position.  They decided he did not have to stand, but he needed to go out in the hall during the Pledge.

This is where the NFL player protest has gotten. Players on some teams may either stand or kneel.  However, some owners are now insisting the players, who wish to protest, “go out into the hall” by staying in the locker room while the Anthem is being played.  Some owners have threatened that if a player does not stand, he will not play and may even lose his job, ala Colin Kaepernick.

I am somewhat mystified how a protest against what are perceived as unwarranted shootings by police by some has been turned into disrespecting our troops and our country, but it has. But for every action, there is usually a reaction.  That has certainly been the case here.  Thomas Paine was well-aware that if you protested, you must be willing to accept the consequences of those actions.  Gandhi knew that; Martin Luther King knew that; Nelson Mandela knew that and all of them paid the consequences in order to create change.

So whether a player decides to stand, kneel, or stay in the locker room, it is a personal decision with potential consequences. But isn’t that how great changes in the world have come about?

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS) 

  1. ESPN’s Mel Kiper, Jr. and Todd McShay both agree that Penn State’s Saquon Barkley is the best running back in college football. How will he fare in the NFL draft? Here is their take:
    http://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/20960145/mel-kiper-todd-mcshay-just-how-good-penn-state-nittany-lion-runnning-back-saquon-barkley
  2. What is happening in the NFL? Jacksonville crushes Pittsburgh; the Giants are 0-5 with a completely depleted receiving corps; Dallas has a losing record; New England has already lost two games and is tied with the Jets and Bills in the standings… I could go on and on. Has the cliché, “On any given Sunday…” ever had more meaning? And the Eagles are in first place! Is this the world as we know it?
  3. The Lafayette Leopards are 2-0 in the Patriot League after another nail-biting win over the favored Fordham Rams. They won 14-10 after trailing 10-0 at the end of three quarters. This is the first time since 2013 that the team is 2-0 in the League. They ended up as Patriot League champions that year. Dare we dream?
  4. I have to offer some praise to Bob Andrews, the highly respected referee in the Parkland-Beca game on Friday night. If you watched our broadcast, we were quite critical of a number of calls in the first half. One call actually kept Beca from scoring a touchdown on a fumble. The officials said it was not a fumble. Our replay showed otherwise. There were three other calls that seemed to be unwarranted or incorrect. I saw Bob at the Lafayette game the next day and he had watched our replay that morning. We discussed each play. He was in agreement with some of our opinions and disagreed with others. He felt each one would become a teaching lesson for his fellow officials. We both learned from the experience.
  5. The games may not be as meaningful this Friday night, but, boy, should they be entertaining. Bethlehem Catholic hosts Whitehall and points should come in abundance. That game will be followed by Freedom at Nazareth and points should come in abundance. Did I just repeat myself? You might be up late, but you should have fun watching.

Gary’s Guesses: NFL Picks – (LAST WEEK – 4-10; OVERALL – 43-33 – 57%)

Week Six

CAROLINA

WASHINGTON

ATLANTA

HOUSTON

NEW ORLEANS

BALTIMORE

GREEN BAY

NEW ENGLAND

ARIZONA

JACKSONVILLE

KANSAS CITY

OAKLAND

DENVER

TENNESSEE

 

Gary Laubach About Gary Laubach

Gary began his broadcasting career with Twin County in 1972. Twin County eventually became C-TEC and then RCN. Gary holds the dual role of Director of Media Services and Sports Director/Broadcaster. He currently broadcasts about 140 sports and entertainment broadcasts a year, and oversees the scheduling of all sporting events for RCN.

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