With Football Season fast approaching, the use of the NFL as a social justice soap box has once again become a hot topic – particularly on social media. (Where else?!) Yesterday, supporters of Colin Kaepernick rallied outside the NFL offices to voice their support and take the NFL to task for its treatment of the star-turned activist. As a full-throated First Amendment supporter, I take no issue with the demonstration though, having listened to some of it, can safely say I don’t agree with all of the views expressed during it. (Regardless of one’s stance on Kaepernick’s cause and methodology, whether or not he lands a job in the NFL should turn on his abilities and value to prospective employers, and no, I don’t think it’s about his hair – his hair is frickin’ awesome!)
Like most, I do have my opinions on the issue(s). I’m a HUGE football fan and a political junkie, but unlike peanut butter and chocolate, not a big fan of combining the two. However, seeing as most everything has become political these days, I suppose it’s somewhat naive to think that the sporting world might remain untouched.
Plenty of high profile sports figures have weighed in on Kaepernick’s stand…er…kneel. (See, e.g., here, here, and here.) One NFL QB’s wife has opted to share her thoughts on the matter, as well. Yesterday, Kelly Stafford, wife of Detroit Lions’ QB Matthew Stafford, shared a quote from Mitch Albom along with her own two cents on the issue in an Instagram post featuring the American flag:
View this post on Instagram
"If you think the country can be better, stand for the ideal. If you think the answer is people showing unity, stand with them. The anthem is not the national police song. The anthem is not the national racists song. The anthem is an exercise in how this country can endure and rise, how we can agree on its future potential, even while struggling with its present. The anthem’s words depict a flag that is suffering through bombs and rockets. You could easily view those bombs and rockets as the challenges our democracy faces today, and the flag a symbol of rising above them." -Mitch albom I've been hesitant to talk about this, as I know I will get backlash from it.. but I believe we can stand and show our unity against everything that doesn't represent what this flag stands for. Let's stand united against terrorists, against racism, against white supremacists, against killing of cops, against police brutality, against sex slave trafficking.. against anything that is not the ideal for this country. Let's unite in the fact that God made us all unique and different and that is something we should cherish. You can disagree with me and that is totally ok.. let's use this forum to discuss (not yell at each other) and listen to one another. #landofthefree #homeofthebrave #illstandwithyou #nfl #standunited #unitedwestand
Of course, she’s sure to face some blowback (#Because2017). In fact, per The Detroit News:
Three hours later, after reading some of the reaction on her initial post, she posted a follow-up message on Instagram.
“I truly meant no disrespect with my last post,” Stafford wrote. “If you know me personally, you know I love (mostly) everyone and I try to be as open as possible! I want us all to be united and I think that takes putting opinions out there, hearing them, and discussing whether agreeing or not… I believe that’s what inspires change. There are many comments that have truly opened my eyes to things I did not think about or know. I hope the posts and discussions keep happening.”
But I say kudos to Kelly Stafford for proudly expressing her love of country and inviting comment and constructive discussion. We could use a lot more of that and a lot less vitriol.