Follow up on Jonathan’s post on NFL protests

Last week’s VLOG engendered reaction from Jonathan, which I’d like to address at least briefly.  Since the original post is now likely not being read, its only fair to start a new thread.  So here are his questions, and my responses below.

1) Most of the panel expressed concern about the method or strategy to the current NFL protest. Dr. Haymond went so far as to say that protests which intend to cause observers to become uncomfortable or offended are inappropriate. Historically, civil rights protests were also considered inappropriate at the time they occurred. Americans decried as inappropriate sit-ins, freedom rides, marches, and even specific protesting acts by Tommie Smith/John Carlos, Muhammad Ali, and others. Today, all of those protests are viewed almost universally as courageous and honorable. So, are you are susceptible to the same mistakes other critics made in the 50s, 60s, and 70s? Are you concerned that your analysis is subject to the criticism of King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”–which excoriated the “white moderate” for policing the tone, tactics, and timing of civil rights protests? |

First, while I may not have been clear, much of my general commentary on being inappropriate was intended to be more of a “its not likely to lead to the desired results”, i.e., it will be ineffective.  I think the chosen means will only cause further polarization, and indeed, turn people off of sports, with sports being one of the biggest cultural institutions which have led to race relations progress.  It was more in that spirit than “oh how offended am I that these guys hate the country I love” kind of attitude.

Of course there is always the possibility–indeed the probability–that those that disagree with us will say we are willing to turn a blind eye to injustice.   But let’s get to the heart of the issue.   Do you really want to say the level of injustice towards blacks in America today is even remotely like what happened in America, say pre-1960?  No one denies that there are not injustices daily in America (and indeed around the world) to many people.  I would not deny, nor would most people I know, that African-Americans have more systemic injustices as well as general prejudices than others in society.  Yet there is a drastic difference between the strategies of BLM, for example, than the civil rights movement.  See Mika Edmondson’s discussion of this differerence here:

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/is-black-lives-matter-the-new-civil-rights-movement

I believe the civil rights movement approach is more likely to lead to success.

(2) Dr. Clauson suggested at one point that other protests taking place during the anthem might be appropriate. I am not sure what the rest of the panel thought. Nevertheless, what if Kaepernick explained his protest on different terms? What if he said he protested by “No one protects the flag more than our soldiers, and yet they are treated unfairly when they return from duty. They lack health care, benefits, and job opportunities, so until they get those things, I will not stand for the anthem.” If his protests were for those reasons, would it still be inappropriate to kneel during the anthem?

Again, I don’t think it will lead to correcting injustice.  So no I don’t think so.  And your example illustrates the point.  Protesting that vets don’t have health care (they have VA), they don’t have benefits (not sure what you mean here, but vets are reasonably well taken care of today, especially if injured in service), job opportunities (vets are generally one of the favored classes for employment, and besides the low unemployment rate makes getting a job easier than most times).  And this matters–much of the disagreement over racial issues in our country is precisely over the scope of the problem, and therefore, that leads to disagreement over the most effective ways to deal with it.

I think there are many opportunities for agreement–if we will reach out and take it.  If we don’t insist that Michael Brown’s death, or Trayvon Martin’s death (which like any deaths are tragedies) must be treated as injustices in the same way that John Crawford’s death, or Philando Castile’s, or Tamir Rice’s were.   For example, I’m with you on criminal justice reform.  I’ve suggested before on this blog that we should do that, and we should end the federal drug war that puts felonies on young black males disproportionately, making it almost impossible to get a job.  I’m in favor of body cameras for police.  I don’t like the militarization of our local police forces.  But as to your suggestions for action,  unfortunately I pretty much have to disagree with all of them.  For example, consider how negative this one is:

2. Prioritize Ending Modern Civil Rights Injustices in the GOP’s Platform — The neighbors I have spoken with agree that both parties have failed their community, but they also agree that one party in particular is the most threatening: the Republican party.

Can you see why that isn’t likely to get traction with the other side?  You’re effectively asking Republicans to stop beating their wives–none of them will agree that they are in the first place.  You are assuming what you need to prove.  So the burden is on you to be specific about what these injustices are.  It cannot be simply that Republicans don’t think like you.  The fact that many people you hang around with find the Republican party threatening is not particularly relevant as a basis for true injustice.  Most people that focus on politics in America and have strong preferences believe that the other side’s victory is pretty threatening.

Nevertheless, thanks for your thoughtful response.  Just because I disagree with you on many aspects of this issue doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate your comments.  Anybody that is willing to write as many words on our blog as you do obviously is passionate about making lives better.  I would simply end with my professor Walter William’s quote.  “Truly compassionate policy requires dispassionate analysis.”

56 thoughts on “Follow up on Jonathan’s post on NFL protests”

  1. As far as proving that Republicans have issues in their platform. It’s a common Republican speaking point that systematic racism does not exist. Indeed they hold that basically any racism or sexism doesn’t exist.

    By the way. As far as comparing now to the 1960s, yes things have gotten much much better, however it’s horrible that things were as bad as they were in the 60s, so long after the end of slavery, and it’s horrible that things are as bad as they are today.

    The biggest problem is not strictly speaking a racism problem, that is police brutality and overreach. That is something that we need to solve. The police community at least knows the solutions, they’ve been talked about for a couple dozen years, but the first step is widespread acceptance that a problem exists.

    1. “As far as proving that Republicans have issues in their platform. It’s a common Republican speaking point that systematic racism does not exist. Indeed they hold that basically any racism or sexism doesn’t exist.”
      Darth, I’m sure you can do better than this. I admit I haven’t read the platform, but I suspect you (and most of our readers) haven’t either. As Mark Twain said, the problem isn’t what people don’t know, its what they know that ain’t so. So if you are going to assert that something is in the platform, and then your proof is to assert that its a common Republican speaking point, you need to show the chapter and verse in the platform. Call me skeptical till then, or better yet, call me a Berean! :-)

      1. He did not say that it was in the platform.

        He said, rather, that it is “a common Republican speaking point that systematic racism does not exist.”

        Not all talking points are in the official party platform of either party. Who goes to check out a party platform anyway before voting? Voters listen to talking points of candidates. Indeed, if one watches even thirty minutes of local television during election season, they HAVE to listen to talking points, even if they don’t want to hear them.

        I am sure you can do better than this.

      2. Jeff, I’m shocked, SHOCKED, to hear you say that we should prefer unofficial statements to official ones. I mistook you for a vigorous defender of rigid factuality. Wouldn’t it be much better to turn, as you’ve so often asked us to do, to the official positions? Well, here it is, right out of the ole’ party platform of 2016:

        We reaffirm the Constitution’s fundamental
        principles: limited government, separation of
        powers, individual liberty, and the rule of law. We
        denounce bigotry, racism, anti-Semitism, ethnic
        prejudice, and religious intolerance. Therefore, we
        oppose discrimination based on race, sex, religion,
        creed, disability, or national origin and support
        statutes to end such discrimination. As the Party
        of Abraham Lincoln, we must continue to foster
        solutions to America’s difficult challenges when
        it comes to race relations today. We continue to
        encourage equality for all citizens and access to
        the American Dream. Merit and hard work should
        determine advancement in our society, so we reject
        unfair preferences, quotas, and set-asides as forms
        of discrimination. Our ranks include Americans
        from every faith and tradition, and we respect the
        right of each American to follow his or her deeply
        held beliefs.

        Now, as for the actual post, I think it’s pertinent to point out that the NFL Commissioner himself acknowledges the problem with these anthem protests. This from a statement he made yesterday, “The controversy over the Anthem is a barrier to having honest conversations and making real progress on the underlying issues.” Again, we don’t deny that racism still exists in many places and that solutions are needed. But, as Dr. Haymond says, as the Bereans say, as the NFL Comissioner says, and as most of America’s football watching crowd has said, this is not the right way to do it. We do it by examining the problem, identifying solutions, and implementing them. Ceremonious acts of defiance don’t bring growth to a crumbling society.

      3. Well said Matthew. Thanks for putting the facts out there on the party position. Also agree about the manner of the protests. I think alot more could be accomplished for these people if they pursued a dialogue with the President or whoever they have problems with not being standoffish.

        Just to be sure, which Jeff are you shocked at?

      4. Matthew, I would agree that the platform of the Republican Party takes a stand against bigotry, whatever that means to them.

        I would disagree if you are suggesting that the Republican party, the establishment, or any of the people responsible for that platform are really in control of the GOP’s direction right now. I am not convinced that they know what to do, and whatever they are doing they are not sticking with their traditional stances. President Trump, whatever his virtues or vices, is decidedly not under their control, nor do they seem all that interested in asserting their platform against him. I simply don’t buy that the GOP platform decrying racism is any more of an indication of what they are actually doing than the Code of Hammurabi is an accurate representation of the law in Iraq. Platforms are irrelevant in a party that distrusts its establishment.

        Not that this is a defense of Mr. Adams’ argument. But touting the party line is not convincing, at least to me.

      5. Daniel, Jeff is Adams. Dr. Haymond is Dr. Haymond. 😉

        Theophilus, the party platform quote is more a snippy retort from me because of past incongruencies from the opposing party. However, to your point, I don’t think the establishment’s lack of control necessarily means Republicans don’t believe the things listed in the platform. This was Dr. Haymond’s whole point; people are asking Republicans to stop something they haven’t started.

      6. @ Matthew Beal

        What would you consider to be the best example of the GOP “tak[ing] a stand against bigotry”?

      7. @Jonathan

        Sorry, I missed this comment. Let me answer your question with a question of my own first. Are there examples of bigotry that the Democrats have condemned and Republicans have not? On the national level, I should say? I guess a follow-up is what do you consider to be bigotry?

  2. We also need to keep biblical doctrine at the center of this, as we should with all things. What does the Bible say about our disregard for governmental leaders. In Romans 13:1-2 we are called to be subject to the governing of those leaders appointed by God. Yes, we have disagreements with these people as a result of two falling human beings coexisting in the world, and more narrowly our country. Kneeling for the national anthem shows a lack of respect for our country, and for our countries leaders, totally disregarding this passage of scripture.

    We also lose a great bit of thankfulness when we support athletes kneeling for the national anthem. We seem to forget all this country does for us, and all these government leaders do for us. I think that if we can incorporate some Godly faithfulness into our train of thought, we might be having a much more tame discussion

    1. I cannot disagree more strongly with your interpretation here. We have no moral obligation to worship the sky-cloth of the state, and it is an abuse of scripture to try and manufacture such an obligation. Ignoring what the people who are protesting have said about their intentions and the message of their protest is disrespectful. Deciding, without knowing what they have said, that they mean it as a slight to our nation, is ignorant. Creating a new sin of unpatriotic behavior is heterodoxy.

    2. Romans 13 is often taken completely out of context, especially by evangelical Christians.

      That is the problem with the man-made concept of “biblical integration”: sloppy scholarship.

    3. Jeff, we all know that your “go to” answer for anything in the Bible you don’t like is “taken out of context”.

      However, in this very specific case, I think I actually… …gasp… …agree with you… …a little, though probably not for the same reasons.

      Shaun,

      While I agree with your basic interpretation of Romans 13 the problem is in your application, What NFL kneelers are doing is not against the law, and in fact, constitutional law, through the 1st Amendment, protects speech that is against the government. In essence, the government, through the 1st Amendment says “it’s okay to disrespect the government”. If disrespecting through speech is not illegal, then then technically, the NFL protests do not apply to Romans 13. No law in existence says that a person must stand for the flag or anthem, and even, according to Jeff, as “one of those evangelicals that takes Romans 13 out of context”, applying Romans 13 to this is much to strict, even for me.

      1. Nate, just to clarify, you disagree because there isn’t a specific law banning disrespectful gestures or whatever during the national anthem? So, if tomorrow they passed a law banning it, it would be wrong to kneel then? We are morally bound to do whatever the government decides?

      2. Okay, for sake of clarity, I will specify which question I am answering with each specific comment…

        “Nate, just to clarify, you disagree because there isn’t a specific law banning disrespectful gestures or whatever during the national anthem?” – Correct, but even more important than the absence of a law banning it, there is a constitutional amendment (the 1st) that protects it.

        “So, if tomorrow they passed a law banning it, it would be wrong to kneel then?” – Unless it was a constitutional amendment (which is extremely unlikely to happen) or a NFL league rule change (possible) in which there would be a contractual obligation on the players’ part to do so, then I would say “no”. If the impossible happened and such a constitutional amendment were passed, then, I would be forced to answer “yes”.

        “We are morally bound to do whatever the government decides?” – Since I believe that God commands submission to government, then not submitting to the government would not be following God’s command. I know there are those who argue rightly that we are to obey God rather than men, but fail to acknowledge that part of obeying God is to obey men in their capacity as agents of government. But this does not equate to “whatever”. Obviously if the government commands a sinful action, the Christian must obey God first. I think a good role model of the Christian’s approach to submission can be found in Daniel and his friends. They submitted to the king of Babylon (and later Persia) and their service was always faithful and they strove to do their utmost as public servants in a foreign land. And notice that they willingly and faithfully served as administrators to pagan kings without fear this would somehow “taint” their testimonies by being associated with said kings. But there were a few incidents in which they refused certain very specific commands of the king that would have required them to break God’s law. In doing so, they were not disrespectful to the king and continued to acknowledge him as their authority, accepting the earthly consequences of their actions.

  3. I completely agree with you about home there are more effective ways to approach pointing out wrong’s in society then how a lot of NFL players are handling it. Especially since standing for the national anthem is a requirement in an NFL player’s contract.

    I’m sure that the NFL is in quite a predicament; their values as an entity are to support these players, but I’m also sure that all this negative press and people boycotting the NFL is ultimately hurting their bottom line. It will be very interesting to see what this eventually leads to.

    1. Actually, there is no actual requirement for standing in NFL rules, otherwise the owners would not currently be discussing whether to change league rules to require standing for the anthem.

  4. Dr. Haymond –

    Thanks for taking the time to respond to my questions.

    The Original Conversation
    I am disappointed with the way you framed the original conversation in this blog post, specifically the way in which you selectively included (and excluded) portions of the original discussion. I would not emphasize these inclusions and exclusions except for the fact that they have the potential to obscure the basis for this dialogue.

    So, let’s start at the beginning

    1. You asked me to explain the purpose of the NFL protests
    Before you answered my two questions to the 9/29/17 VLOG panelists, you asked I explain what NFL protesters wanted you and other observers “to do.” I explained NFL protesters are seeking to spotlight modern civil rights injustices, particularly those suffered by African-Americans. I provided specific examples–included extended commentary from a current NFL player/protester–and I attempted to acknowledge how you refer to contemporary harms as “lingering race issues” while I referred to as modern civil rights injustices.

    I was disappointed to see very little response from you on that specific question. At most, you returned to this subject incidentally:

    “Do you really want to say the level of injustice towards blacks in America today is even remotely like what happened in America, say pre-1960? No one denies that there are not injustices daily in America (and indeed around the world) to many people. I would not deny, nor would most people I know, that African-Americans have more systemic injustices as well as general prejudices than others in society. Yet there is a drastic difference between the strategies of BLM, for example, than the civil rights movement. “

    It is generally true that current conditions for African-Americans have improved since the 1950s. But I fail to see how that claim advances this conversation. After all, conditions for African-Americans in the 1950s improved considerably relative to the 1900s, the 1850s, and before. But that relative improvement did not undermine the legitimacy and/or moral authority African-Americans possessed to protest the injustices of the 1950s. Those 1950s injustices were still deeply wrong, regardless of how “better” they may have been relative to, say, chattel slavery. Likewise, while the overall current conditions for African-Americans have (generally) improved since the 1950s, that improvement has little bearing on the legitimacy and moral authority of current protests against modern civil rights injustices.

    Perhaps even more importantly, I think your comment returns us back to the difference between harms you refer to as “lingering race issues.” I refer to those same harms as modern civil rights injustices. Your phrase, while conceivably neutral, arguably diminishes the severity of the problems affecting marginalized communities. I think it will difficult to advance in this conversation until we can reach some modicum of agreement that contemporary harms are more than mere lingering issues.

    2. You asked me to provide specific, desired responses to the NFL protests
    You also asked for a list of the “top three specific actions” NFL protesters (and NFL protester supporters) would like to see. I spent a considerable amount of time connecting with neighbors to convey some of their ideas. I was disappointed to see your post circumvent almost all my neighbors’ ideas. You did mention that you “pretty much [had] to disagree with all” of my “suggestions for action” and gave the following as an example:

    “Can you see why [Jonathan’s neighbors identifying that the Republican party as the most threatening to them] isn’t likely to get traction with the other side? You’re effectively asking Republicans to stop beating their wives—none of them will agree that they are in the first place. You’re assuming what you need to prove. So, the burden is on you to be specific about what these injustices are.”

    Respectfully, Dr. Haymond, this quote above reads like a rather disingenuous attempt to circumvent the actual substance in my earlier comments, and, the ideas expressed by my neighbors.

    First, you used–as an example–a comment which was in no way an example of suggested actions from my neighbors and me. The comment you highlighted was descriptive. It reflects a belief among my neighbors that the Republican party advances policies which oppose their interests. I then used that descriptive comment to affirm something I believe you and the other Bereans already know: the GOP has little to no success garnering the vote of neighbors like mine. If the party wants that to change, it must correct my neighbor’s perception by advancing specific policies which align both with conservative principles and the interests of my neighbors.

    Second, your comment ignored the many other tangible (and rather wonky!) policy suggestions we offered. What about public school financing? Desegregation? Public-private partnerships? By only acknowledging certain criminal justice reforms you prefer—and then stating you “pretty much [had] to disagree with all” of my “suggestions for action”—you somehow managed both to ignore these suggestions and impliedly dismiss them at the same time. Why not wrestle with the actual policy suggestions? Why highlight a purely descriptive comment over and against the actual sough-after policy suggestions you requested?

    Third, I have read and re-read this comment several times, and I am at a loss as to how the last sentence relates to your overall point. I think you’re arguing my neighbors bear the burden of persuading the GOP that their policies disfavor my neighbors’ interests, and further, that my neighbors bear the burden of persuading the GOP that modern civil rights injustices exist. I guess my point—again, from my original comment—was the Republican party needs to lead and extend policy-olive-branches towards my neighbors if they wish to respond meaningfully to the NFL protests. I certainly wasn’t suggesting that because my neighbors are suspicious of the GOP they therefore suffer modern civil rights injustices. I’m not sure how you could have inferred that from my comment.

    This Blog Post
    By re-orienting some of your blog comments back to and around the original discussion, I think I also responded to many of your substantive points. There are still a few remaining.

    1. What is the proper way to protest?
    This is a difficult question, which is precisely why I was hoping to see you and the other VLOG panelists respond to MLK’s words in Letter. In your blog post above, you essentially reiterated what you said in the VLOG: the NFL protests aren’t effective because they are offensive. That criticism is just about identical to the criticism MLK received from the very moderate white clergy to whom he wrote Letter from a Birmingham Jail. Today, historians \largely agree that MLK’s movement was immensely successful, even as it was considerably unpopular and offensive, and even as it was considered ineffective. Given that, do you think MLK was wrong to criticize the 1950s/60s white clergy for saying essentially the same thing you are saying today, or do you think his criticism is not applicable to what you are saying today?

    2. The TGC/Edmondson article
    Reading your blog, you cite this speech from Edmondson as if it draws some striking contrast between BLM and the 1960s civil rights movement. In fact, Edmondson encourages Christians to engage BLM, and Edmondson shows many similarities as well. Regardless, this discussion is not exclusively about BLM, and drawing attention to such an amorphous movement distracts from the larger conversation.

    3. What if the NFL protests were over the treatment veterans?
    I’m a bit lost by your response. If the NFL players were protesting what you acknowledge to be current mistreatment of military veterans by silently kneeling during the anthem, would you be as outspoken and critical of their protest?

    Conclusion
    I hope re-organizing the conversation is helpful in terms of keeping the entire discussing cohesive and visible, both to us and to any readers. Thanks for engaging.

      1. Agreed. Whether you agree with his conclusions or not, I think we could all learn quite a bit from posts such as Jonathan’s both in tone and substance.

      2. Agreed. I’d love to see Dr. Haymond take Jonathan’s equanimity, clarity, and substance as a model in his response.

        It seems to me this particular issue of systemic racial inequity could be a leading edge for serious dialogue in this space, if the Bereans would simply embrace it. But I imagine this would require a willingness to truly hear (and even seek out) disenfranchised voices, and then sit with, in, and under their uncomfortable critique. Jonathan’s asking you to do just that, Dr. Haymond, with MLK’s voice and his neighbors’ lived experience. As is Mika Edmondson, in a pretty damning analysis of evangelicalism’s tepid response to systemic racism past and present. Somehow you don’t seem willing or able to engage these voices as the penetrating moral/ethical challenge they inescapably are.

        Instead, we get a call to “dispassionate analysis.” Hear me say with all respect, Christian brother, that your comfortable, persistent retreat to abstraction and “dispassion” on questions like this one is an essential part of the problem. Both King and Edmondson are telling you as much—quite dispassionately I might add—but I can’t tell if you know or even care. I actually agree that compassionate policy should involve dispassionate analysis. But I think probably starts in genuine compassion. That’s what I’m persistently missing in your arguments on this topic, including your exchange with Jonathan. And it’s not a policy problem.

      3. At Ben H
        “As is Mika Edmondson, in a pretty damning analysis of evangelicalism’s tepid response to systemic racism past and present. Somehow you don’t seem willing or able to engage these voices as the penetrating moral/ethical challenge they inescapably are.”
        Ben, several weeks ago I posted a link to a sermon I gave several months ago on this issue, I believe in response to you. If you did not listen, please check it out and then see if you want to continue to assert that I’m unwilling to engage these voices. In a 35 min sermon I can obviously engage more thoughtfully than in a blog.
        http://www.centervillechristian.org/podcast/2017/6/14/ephesians-41-16-shaking-the-heavenlies-a-biblical-call-to-unity

        Obviously I think you calling my thought process an “essential part of the problem” is pretty off target. And wrapping it seemingly in concern over my spiritual well-being only minimizes the chances of a serious dialogue. How again are my beliefs responsible for police shootings?

    1. Jonathan,

      I respect your passion for this and you have explained your position well, but I am curious as to why Dr. Haymond’s view of one, single, very specific form of protest is such a big issue to you. While you are correct that MLK’s actions and methods are now are considered good though at the time they happened they were not, this does not mean the same will be true of the anthem protests, nor are the motivations for viewing the kneeling as ineffectual or offensive necessarily the same as the reasons for why it was said about MLK and the civil rights movement. Could it just possibly be that Dr. Haymond does not like anthem kneeling because he actually WANTS the injustices being protested to be addressed but believes that this is the wrong way to do it? That is my thinking when I read his comments.

      I, personally, am critical of the anthem kneeling not because it is offensive (though I do not like it because I personally think it is disrespectful to our veterans and nation, though I do understand the reasoning of those who say it isn’t) but because I believe it is making things worse not better. So I would ask you: Do you actually believe that the NFL protests will one day receive the same praise that MLK and the civil rights movement now enjoy? Do you actually believe that opposition to this form of protest is the equivalent of the “white moderates” opposing MLK’s methods?

      I don’t. Therefore I do not think that Dr. Haymond’s “analysis is subject to the criticism of King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”

      1. “I, personally, am critical of the anthem kneeling not because it is offensive (though I do not like it because I personally think it is disrespectful to our veterans and nation, though I do understand the reasoning of those who say it isn’t) but because I believe it is making things worse not better.”

        Do you have any evidence that the police shootings of unarmed black men have increased since the protests began?

        After all, if you believe that the protests are “making things worse not better,” then you must have some reason for believing that. Considering that the protests were about the killing of unarmed black men by the police, you must have evidence of that, right?

      2. Seriously Jeff? He is saying the manner of the protests is not helping them get the action they are seeking it is only making relations worse and causing added tension that is not necessary and hurts their goals.

    2. Jonathan–
      I’m sorry you are disappointed with the way I “framed the original conversation in this blog post, specifically the way in which you selectively included (and excluded) portions of the original discussion.” I can understand that you might not like my response, but you seem to suggest that I have been unfair to your request–I have not. You originally came on asking all Bereans to answer two questions. Before I could, I wanted to understand where you were coming from, so I did ask for you to answer to subsequent ??s before I could answer your original two questions. Upon completion of your response, you state, “Now, I would appreciate hearing your response to my original two questions. :)” That is exactly what I did. How that is unfair is beyond me.

      Regarding my failure to respond to each of the three points you made, your answers strayed very far from what I believe the core issue is–police shooting black men. While I disagreed with Darth Vader’s comment, he was correct on the issue:
      “The biggest problem is not strictly speaking a racism problem, that is police brutality and overreach. That is something that we need to solve. The police community at least knows the solutions, they’ve been talked about for a couple dozen years, but the first step is widespread acceptance that a problem exists.”

      As I stated in my response, I think there is opportunity for dialogue and agreement, but when you suggest that a solution to the police brutality issue requires we embrace your social justice agenda (even when thoughtfully done, as much of your comments were), then we’re not likely to make much headway.

      As far as your comment that I see the “lingering race issues” whereas you see “modern civil rights injustices” I think you have hit the point well in our disagreement. First, let me agree with you that there are modern civil rights injustices. There is a whole range of social conflict vis a vis race, some are clear injustices, others less so. I have no problem calling specific things as injustices when they are. But I want to be very careful as to what is injustice and what is not. It is injustice when a police officer shoots a man talking on a cell phone in a Beavercreek mall within one second of telling him to drop a pellet gun. Or when a twelve year old is playing on the park and dead within a moment of police arriving. I think we can both agree on this. The solution is very hard, and we have to ensure we don’t create a worse problem with our actions. But however much you imply that current injustices are on par with the civil rights marches, I think you’re wrong. We’re just going to have to disagree here. I was alive in the 60s, and I moved to the deep south in the 70s; I’ve seen some of what real systemic injustice looks like. And what I see today just does not compare. Re Mika’s podcast, I was pointing to his description of how the civil rights movement made sure the case was airtight before pressing forward, whereas BLM wants to trumpet every questionable situation as an injustice. So I think the analogy is that the civil rights movement would have never pushed Michael Brown or Trayvon Martin’s death, but would have been all over Tamir Rice and the others I mentioned.
      If you have a moment, I’d love to chat offline if possible.

  5. “Daniel, Jeff is Adams. Dr. Haymond is Dr. Haymond. ”

    I have an earned doctorate, like Jeff Haymond. But you can call me Jeff. No need for formalities. :-)

  6. It amazes me how often the actions we take end up giving us opposite results of our desired outcome, as in the case of the NFL protests. The football players are protesting racial injustice, however as stated by Dr. Haymond, “the chosen means will only cause further polarization”. Sports is an area where significant race relations progress has been made, but now is becoming a place where divisions are beginning to form.

  7. I agree that the platform of sports has been used wrongly. Even though we have seen advancements in racial relations in sports it is now declining. When players “take a knee” at games they and those that support them are forgetting why one stands in the first place. Currently it has been made about race, however it is to honor our country and those who serve and have served it.

  8. You do need to give the players some credit. They have actually spurred all of these discussions. As long as we can have a civil discussion that promotes intelligent improvement in the system, you have to consider the protests successfully.

  9. I’ll probably get a lot heat for saying this, but I honestly believe that any American who does not stand during the National Anthem (no matter what the reason) is wrong. If you are an American you stand when our anthem is played. Period. I don’t care what kind of injustice you think is happening. By not standing in respect you are saying that the sacrifices made by our military are unimportant. You are not making a statement about injustice, you are disrespecting our troops and veterans. Do you think that veterans (even one’s receiving subpar medical care) would have the nerve to sit or “take a knee” during the national anthem? NO! They stand because they respect the flag, the country, and the people are still risking their lives to keep us safe and to protect our freedoms.

    I remember seeing at at least one of the Packers’ game (I don’t like them so I don’t watch them) that the entire team stood during the anthem and locked arms in unity. Some of the crowd shouted negative comments at this during the anthem. The cowboys on the other hand, all took a knee during the anthem. Which is more respectful. NOT taking a knee. NOT shouting rude comments during the anthem. During the anthem, you stand. It’s a sign of respect. I don’t care who you are, what political party you align with, what your skin tone is! Unless it is physically impossible for you to do so, YOU STAND!

    1. I see.

      You want others to respect YOUR views, while not respecting the rights of others who disagree with you.

      Lol, that is NOT how it goes.

      I stand for the flag and never have kneeled, even though kneeling is not necessarily a sign of disrespect. I support freedom of expression. You apparently don’t.

      If you do not respect others’ freedom of expression, you are showing disrespect to the Constitution, and that means that you are not really a true American, even if you stand every single time the National Anthem is played. After all, what makes this country is not the troops or the veterans, but the principles contained in the Constitution.

      1. I am not sure he does expect others to respect his views. He specifically acknowledged he would probably get a lot of heat.

        But I am glad to see that, at least in word, you yourself actually realize that wanting respect while not respecting others is NOT how it goes.

        “After all, what makes this country is not the troops or the veterans, but the principles contained in the Constitution”

        Principles that would have ceased to exist long ago if not for those troops and veterans…

      2. Oh, and just to add… believing that something is absolutely wrong does not automatically mean you do not acknowledge the right of others to do it.

  10. I once had a Bible teacher refuse to recite The Pledge of Allegiance because he did not believe in pledging in anything other than the name of Jesus. Although I do not personally agree out of respect for my country, this was a freedom he had and I respected that. I do not fully understand, similar to you, why protesting the anthem in a football game would be effective. I think it is a stretch. As I saw in the comments; if it were a protest for vets being mistreated, I can see the correlation and possibly an outcome. I do not see an outcome for the protesters in this instance.

  11. I do not think that it is ever appropriate not to stand during the national anthem. There are the few exceptions, such as health reasons, that I understand, but if someone can, then they should. There may be something well worth protesting, but not giving the necessary amount of respect during the national anthem should not be one of those ways to protest. Yes, we have freedom of expression, but there should be certain instances like this where standing for the Pledge of Allegiance is a no-brainer.

  12. I believe that not standing during the national anthem is incredibly inappropriate and disrespectful. I wholeheartedly believe in peaceful protest. I think it is right and acceptable to voice your opinion and concerns for our nation. After all, it is a country that accepts and protects the right of free speech. However, the national anthem is a token of symbolism in the United States. It allows Americans to look fondly on the nation they live in, realizing that although it is not perfect, it is still a blessing to live in it. It also harkens back and pays homage to all the man and women who have sacrificed their time and put their lives on the line to protect the values for which America stands. That is why you stand for the anthem.

    1. But we did all of the good things before the national anthem existed. Pledging allegiance is a relatively modern practice. Surely true patriotism does not hinge on these specific symbols.

      1. Its not the symbol itself but the message behind it. The national anthem is a moment where we as Americans can put aside our differences and stand united. It is to honor the patriots who formed the nation. It’s not a tribute to Democrats or Republicans. It’s like being silent at a funeral. You respect the good the person has done, no matter what they thought on certain political issues. If someone stands opposed to Donald Trump, then let him protest in a different way. The anthem is about liberty and freedom and paying homage to those that stand for it. When one kneels, one is standing opposed to praising those things. One is not opposing Donald Trump. Do you kneel before the anthem???

    2. Both the standers and the kneelers are representing American values and are practicing American traditions as good Americans.

      You have good reasons why you stand, and they have good reasons why they don’t.

  13. While I am glad that Dr. Haymond took this opportunity to respond to some of Jonathan’s previous comments, I did feel like some of the conversation was missing. I really appreciate Jonathan’s thoughtful expansion and continuation of the discussion above. I consider respectful discourse like this to be a benefit of protests that may otherwise be “offensive”.

  14. Protesting is something that people have the right to do. While people have the right to kneel during the national anthem it doesn’t make it the right thing to do. Owners of NFL teams also have a right to force players to stand and shouldn’t be discredited for using the same freedoms that the players are using. The main issue I have with players kneeling is the reason behind them kneeling is completely distorted. No one knows what they are protesting anymore. It feels more like a protest against Trump than actual social issues.

  15. I see where the panel was coming from on this argument about the anthem. I understand why they are protesting, and their protest is to help a noble goal. There is a great deal of in-social justice, but more accurately social prejudices. People of color are looked upon differently compared to others, and this automatically starts them at a disadvantage. I do not believe the protesting of the national anthem is the best way to deal with these problems because it only strengthens some peoples built in prejudices to people of color. There are other strong ways to support social change, but I do not believe this is the one.

  16. I hear a lot of people saying that these protests had no effect and the athletes didn’t get anything out of it. I actually think they did get something out of it–a lot of attention and publicity. Although I don’t think that it helped the issue they were trying to address, they did draw a lot of attention to it and themselves. I don’t follow sports at all, but now I know who Colin Kaepernick is because of his protests.

  17. I understand why the NFL players are protesting the national anthem, but these protest may in the long run, hurt the players. The NFL ratings are decreasing, and that is one of the ways the NFL earns revenue. Less revenue means the salary cap decreases, and the players will pay less.It would be interest how the players would react if this situation actually happen.

  18. One commonly overlooked aspect of all of these race arguments is the negative effect such demonstrations can have on the way people view each other in a broader way. The principle I am referring to is that of “otherizing,” which means, “To make or regard (a person, social group, etc.) as alien or different.” If the only people kneeling are blacks, and the issue becomes an “us vs them” one, it will not end quickly if at all. If we continue to let these issues divide us along the race lines then we are perpetuating a serious problem. I am not presuming to have a solution to the issues discussed above, but this is something to consider.

  19. Although I don’t agree with NFL players protesting the anthem, I can’t argue that they aren’t well within their right to do so. I would never kneel for the anthem, but just because others do doesn’t make them “bad Americans”. They are exercising their rights and trying to make a difference, which is respectable, even if I don’t agree with what they’re arguing.

  20. While I am among the group who believes that it is disrespectful and egregious to kneel or stretch during the national anthem I think that the player have the right to protest how they wish to protest. I think Professor Haymond hit it on the head by saying that this type of protest will not do anything but turn people off to sports. These protests are doing nothing, nothing to start a movement or to cause anyone harm but themselves. People who see these protest are not going to stop being racist towards blacks or hispanics. In fact these days blacks are not nearly as segregated against as when the civil rights movement took place. The protests in the civil rights era actually had an impact on society and where not meant to make people mad or take sides but to show a purpose.

  21. Although I do not agree with NFL players exercising their right to kneel for the national anthem, I do not think they should be forced to do so. I do see it as a sign of disrespect to the flag, but it is their right to do so. Although I think it is ultimately doing more harm than good, it has spurred more conversations regarding racial equality.

  22. I think that in regards to the kneeling during the anthem, it is a non violent protest but it has come at a time where the social media is trigger happy about using it to divide the nation. While I think some of the NFL players are trying to use it to make a point, others with bad intentions are warping it to serve their own purposes.

  23. While I agree with your ending statements about the polarization in politics today and that claims that the other parties platform is a threat to the other party need to be proven, I disagree with the main body of this post. In reality, one of the most important parts of a protest is that it captures the attention of not only the people in power, but also the base and support for those people. In America, few organizations have the platform that the NFL and other national sports organizations have. These sports have the ability to reach millions of people in a given week. By protesting in a peaceful manner, that garners the attention and the debate of a large segment of the country, it will begin the conversation. Some may argue that the kneeling itself is getting more attention than the reasons behind it (racial injustice, police brutality, systematic racism ect), but any informed member of the debate is also aware of the reasons for the protest. Whether or not people approve of the kneeling, these topics have been brought to the forefront of American politics by the players and owners who kneel. The conversations that are had about the reasons behind the protests are how the problems will be solved, so in my opinion these protests have been successful.

    I also disagree strongly with the point that brings up how much better the African-American population is off right now than they were in the 1950’s. I am not disagreeing the the claim that they are better off, because that is blatantly obvious. My question would be how is that relevant? Just because things are better now than they were in the past does not at all disallow or diminish the injustices that are still present. Just because things are less bad than they were does not mean they can not still dramatically improve.

    1. Carter,
      Why the scope of the problem matters is to what the solution ought to be. When African Americans are denied the ability to buy a meal at a restaurant, it is relatively easy (but obviously socially very hard) to pass laws to allow access to public accommodations. But in today’s era, what law would you like to see passed that would deal with a police officer shooting a man in a routine traffic stop? There are some things that might help (and I’ve already listed my support for them above) such as body cameras. But we need to ensure we don’t have unintended consequences. So when police were blamed for Freddie Gray’s death in Baltimore (and remember half the officers investigated where African American), the police basically pulled back and black on black homicides soared in Baltimore subsequently. This is not an easy problem, if it were, it would have been solved long ago. And I don’t think it helps to try and make this the same as America in the 1950s. It is not.

    2. Carter,
      Why the scope of the problem matters is to what the solution ought to be. When African Americans are denied the ability to buy a meal at a restaurant, it is relatively easy (but obviously socially very hard) to pass laws to allow access to public accommodations. But in today’s era, what law would you like to see passed that would deal with a police officer shooting a man in a routine traffic stop? There are some things that might help (and I’ve already listed my support for them above) such as body cameras. But we need to ensure we don’t have unintended consequences. So when police were blamed for Freddie Gray’s death in Baltimore (and remember half the officers investigated were African American), the police basically pulled back and black on black homicides soared in Baltimore subsequently. This is not an easy problem, if it were, it would have been solved long ago. And I don’t think it helps to try and make this the same as America in the 1950s. It is not.

  24. No matter what side you fall on regarding these protests, the amount of division created between people is saddening. All of the protests and division is really just taking away from what sports used to be: a neutral thing for people to talk about. Even though I’m glad for this and many other discussions, I hope that sports can soon return to the neutral topics that it once used to be.

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