A fictional discourse between a political science Professor and his students.
As soon as the Professor took his place at the head of the table, Robert said, “With everything going on why is so much coverage and attention being given to the NFL players taking a knee during the pre-game national anthem? Is it really that important?”
The professor looked down the table at the ten students in his political science honors seminar and asked, “How many of you think the issue Robert raised is important enough for us to devote class time to discussing it?”
Four of the ten students raised their hand. “Alice, your hand was up. Why is this issue important?”
“I think the behavior of the NFL players who take a knee are disrespecting sacred parts of our heritage and national culture. How we respond will say a lot about how we feel about our national history and beliefs. What does being an American mean?”
“Anyone else care to comment? Edward said, “This is simply a case of Americans exercising their Constitutional rights to protest parts of our history and culture that they believe need to be discussed and changed.”
“Okay. You are interested and so am I. As you have learned it is important to understand not only the issue but to have some understanding of the biases, agenda and experiences of the speaker. I may be an open book to those who have taken a previous course from me of read some of my publications. But for the rest of you, I am a Korean War Vet from the coal mining and steel mills of western Pennsylvania; studied at Pitt, Duke and other places here and abroad in the fields of politics and national security; briefly participated in the civil rights sit in movement in North Caroline and met Martin Luther King in the process; served 21 years in the CIA with several foreign assignments including two years in Vietnam and Moscow; my last government job was as a special assistant to President Reagan for national security affairs. Politically I’m a Republican with strong leanings toward populism and nationalism. With that background it must be clear that I am not a liberal.
“I don’t believe the Government should punish people for disrespecting the flag or the national anthem and the thousands of veterans whose sacrifices made it possible for them to have the right to protest. But I have no respect for those who do, especially when they are men being highly paid to play a game. They are incredible athletes, but first and foremost they are entertainers working for people who make fortunes from ticket sales, TV rights, NFL apparel stores and stadiums paid for by tax payers. I don’t even think they all know what they are protesting.
“This is no place for government intervention. It is up to the owners and the fans. I am no longer a fan. I no longer watch the games or talk about them. Weak NFL management, greedy owners and pampered athletes have made their bed and are totally responsible for diminishing viewers and sales.
“Rather than being dismayed by the actions and greed of the NFL, I am heartened by the response of the people where our true strength lies.”