Truth is, this post has been rolling around in my brain for weeks now. It's caused a bit of an internal conflict. To write or not to write, that is the question.
I gave this post the "walk away" test. And kept thinking about it. Gave it the test again, came back to it again. Walked away, kept thinking, walked away, kept thinking. Yup, looks like I've got something to say here. You don't have to agree with me, but I hope you'll hear me out.
Need a bribe? I brought muffins . . .
Cinnamon Sugared Dark Chocolate Mini Muffins
Unless you've been living under a rock (you haven't have you?), you know about the fact that Colin Kaepernick, a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers sat during the national anthem at a pre-season game. He's said that he did so because he cannot show respect for a flag representing a country that oppresses people of color.
And so it began.
He's right, of course, that there is an issue here. A serious one. A deadly one.
I have to say, as many have before me, that I completely agree that he has the right to express himself in this way. I even feel a level of respect for him, his protest was non-confrontational, not aggressive in any way.
But is this the way to express it? Is this the time? The place? Just because you have the right to do something, is it necessarily right to do it?
For me, the answer is "no". When you are at work, wearing your uniform, it is not about you. It's about the job. Your behavior, your choices, they are representative of your employer, not of your personal feelings.
I feel the same way about praying on the field. I respect religious conviction. Pray in the locker room before the game, stop at a church on the way home. Pray on the playing field? Not so much.
Not only are they at work, but their job is to represent the people of their city, their fans. And a component of their job is to increase ticket sales, food and beverage sales, the sale of team fan gear. Besides playing the game, part of their job is as ambassador for their city. They are supposed to entertain, bring out the fans' pride in their city, unite them in their pride in their team. Not some of the fans. All of them. The blacks, whites, Christians, Jews, Muslims, carpenters, teachers, cops, firefighters. Everyone.
Despite the fact that I do not have a specific problem with sitting or kneeling during the national anthem, I knew, I think we all knew, this act was not going to be the end of it. There was going to be an escalation. And there has been.
There has to be a line. And, when the act takes place on the job, it needs to be drawn by the employer. It's a precarious position to be in, choosing a spot to draw a line because our rights are precious. To come full circle, it's what the flag stands for. The irony of it is that the flag that is being disrespected actually stands for the right to . . . disrespect the flag.
But in the workplace, especially a workplace that requires a symbiotic relationship with the public . . . all of the public . . . it has to be done, there has to be a line.
They have a platform, sports figures. They have a level of notoriety that allows them the ability to reach people, more people than most of us could. And that hardly goes away when they're off the field. They can call the media and join a protest, engage in a march, start a petition, hold a press conference. They can use their notoriety to voice their personal opinion in another venue.
Protesting at a televised football game, without a doubt, is a calculated act. The time and the place ramps up the exposure. So, ultimately, has Colin accomplished what he set out to do? Are we really talking about the issue that he's so passionate about?
Or is the conversation more about his right to protest publicly while on the job?
Has he drawn attention to the issue? Or away from it?
I respected Colin for his pacifism in sitting silently.
And then it came out that he wore, to a practice that was open to the public, socks depicting cops as pigs. Passive had become aggressive. Much of my respect eroded.
What began as a quiet act of defiance is growing, escalating, changing tone. In response to a question as to why this isn't taking place on baseball fields as well, one American League player stated that it's because baseball is a "white man's game". He further explained that there aren't enough black baseball players to impact the game if you throw them out, but black football players are somehow safe in their numbers.
I don't question that this is his experience, but it isn't mine as a fan. I was watching the Red Sox play the Yankees the other night and at the end of the game I deliberately looked to see if I saw a number of people of color. And I did. On both teams. Well known and well respected players. I firmly believe that neither of these teams picked players based on color. I believe that both of these teams care only about building their franchise to be the best it can be.
And I was sad. Because the game has never been about color for me. Yet there I was, searching, counting.
I ask again, as a result of all of this, are we talking about the issue at the core of Kaepernick's protest? Are we discussing the fact that black men need to be able to walk, to drive, to even make normal teenage mistakes without paying with their lives?
Not that I can see. We're off on a tangent. Discussing respect for the flag and the national anthem. Discussing the right to protest. Discussing the racial make up of teams.
And then a little over a week ago, on opening day of the football season, at a game where loyal fans of all colors and professions and beliefs came to have some fun, two of my beloved New England Patriots' team members raised their fists to the cameras directly after the national anthem. On the same night at another game, a Kansas City Chiefs player raised his fist . . .
during the national anthem . . .
on September 11th.
Not the time. Not the place.
Where is that line?
PS: I just wanted to add that all of the above is my opinion, of course. College Boy completely disagrees with me. I value discourse. As long as it's thoughtful and respectful, feel free to tell me why you disagree.
Cinnamon Sugared Dark Chocolate Mini Muffins©www.BakingInATornado.com
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
3 TBSP butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk
1 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
4 TBSP butter
6 TBSP sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
*Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease mini muffin tins. You'll need to make 24.
*In a microwave safe bowl, melt dark chocolate chips with 3 TBSP butter until completely smooth. Whisk in sugar and vanilla, then milk and egg.
*In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and 1/4 tsp cinnamon. Add to the chocolate mixture, blending just until incorporated.
*Drop by scant tablespoon into the muffin tins.
*Bake for 12 - 15 minutes or until they spring back to the touch.
*While the mini muffins are baking, melt 4 TBSP butter. In a separate bowl, mix 6 TBSP sugar with 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon.
*Remove from the muffin tins. Cool. Dip the tops in the melted butter, then the cinnamon/sugar mixture.