Tuesday, September 20, 2016

On Protests and Sports and Time and Place

When I find myself about to buy an expensive item I hadn't considered purchasing, I often do the "walk away" test. If I'm still thinking about it days later I know I really want it.

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: two bite dark chocolate muffins coated with cinnamon and sugar almost tasting like a little donut. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #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. 

On Protests and Sports and Time and Place | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics #CurrentEvents 

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?

Baking In A Tornado signature | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

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
Printable Recipe
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
3 TBSP butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla 
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
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.



  1. Wow. Well said.
    My husband and I have disagreed on this,up until now. Sort of. I have felt/believed that he was 'disrespecting the flag that gives him the freedom to do so'. Which to me meant, he has the right to demonstrate his belief/feeling.
    Then I read your blog and you wrote "When you are at work...." and something in my head said 'I never even thought about him being at work'. Until now it has always been a question of whether or not he has/had the right to do it.
    Thank you for opening my eyes and expanding my thoughts.

    1. I appreciate all views about this issue, but I'm glad to bring another piece of it to the discussion.

  2. I think Calvin Peppernick, or whatever his name is, is not doing this so much to bring awareness to the issue, but to bring attention to himself. Why use the time he is working (meaning the games) to do this, but stay relatively quiet when off the field. Is he doing anything else to help? As the daughter of a veteran and the granddaughter of a veteran, I think he is a disgusting person for doing this. This doesn't do anything to unite people. It is further dividing us.

    1. As both the daughter and granddaughter of a veteran, I can completely understand your passion. I think so much is happening in this election cycle that we're losing site of our patriotism.

    2. He isn't relatively quiet off th3 field, for one. For two, plenty of veterans back his form of protest. For three, if he didn't do this at a time that brought so many people of different backgrounds together in a way that would stir conversation, he wouldn't get people talking about it at all. His choice on protesting isn't disgusting but not even bothering to try to get his name right because you don't agree with him is sad.

    3. I haven't heard of him doing anything off of the field at all. I wonder whether he's been quieter about it or if it's just been pushed to the side because of his on-field protest.

  3. The socks depicting police as pigs--1,000% wrong. Even when not at work. But...I moved to a part of the country where Democrats won't have tables at fairs or events because the tables will be turned over. And people around laugh and applaud.
    The names they call our president and his wife---I look so all American people feel free to be themselves.
    Our country is at war with itself. A much bigger war than the one in the 1960's and 70's. I get that poor whites feel powerless and did even when BushTwo was president.
    I do a lot of volunteer work. But when I was asked to do something on Yom Kippur, and said "no" I was dropped from the org--even after I explained what it signifies. Fortunately enough other people want and like my "services" and friendship---I really think they just didn't like me and used that as an excuse. But I look at this from the vantage point of a relatively privileged person.
    What Colin Kaepernick did was call attention to the lack of power people feel.
    We need to let all people feel power. Something has to be done---something big. And people have to understand that "patriotism" comes in ways that have nothing to do with the flag or the national anthem, also
    I really read this because the receipe sounded and looks so enticing!

    1. I agree that we all need to feel powerful and equal in our power. I don't think wearing socks depicting police as pigs is the way to do that. I think Colin Kaepernick undid any good he could have done by wearing those socks.

  4. You did a great job at expressing your view with a twist. Showing it as part of his "job" was a great way to look at it. When I first heard about this guy's protest, I rolled my eyes and said "He'll be getting his 15 minutes of fame" and I still feel the same way.

    There are many ways to take a stand, make a point or voice a concern - this was NOT the time, the place or the way to do it.

    I have less than zero respect for him or anyone else who does this -- in many other countries he would have been shot. Our freedom is often misrepresented and this certainly is one of those times. No matter who is running the country or what is happening, we still live in a country where many have fought for and/or lost their lives for -- that is why we sing the national anthem and show our due respect.

    Same thing happened with the protest at the Academy last year. But don't get me started. People GROW UP. It has nothing to do with color, it has to do with talent and opportunity and sheer hard work.

    1. I see both sides, I really do. There's an issue here without a doubt, I just don't think it belongs at someone's workplace. Especially where there's a chance it could get ugly. And those socks made it ugly in my opinion.

  5. I did not approve of his socks. Not all cops are bad. Yes, some are, and we desperately need to 1. Weed the bad ones out 2. Stop allowing the bad ones to get away with murder (literally), so other bad cops don't feel so able to do the same. The majority of cops are good. Wearing those socks fueled anger towards cops in general- the bad ones and the good ones. It could, and probably will, lead to problems for the good cops. I'm not okay with that. Great post. I agree and disagree, but overall simply respect your opinion. These muffins look amazing. I'll be making then for Gigi. She's addicted to muffins.

  6. It is such a tough situation, stand or not since these guys are role models to so many. The praying I am with you 100%, not on the field.

    1. I don't have a problem with the standing per se, it's where it went from there that bothers me. I have a big problem with the socks and with the raised fists and I have grave concerns about where it may go next.

  7. First, I'll agree that your muffins sound absolutely yummy. Next, I am quite conflicted about Colin Kaepernick. If I was in the public eye, I would want to express my opinion if I knew I was in a position to get people to listen where they would never listen to others. I don't have a problem with him kneeling (or others kneeling) during the anthem. I even question WHY we have to play the anthem before sports events! (ever watch the audience? Many stand, but others stare at their phones or yawn. They don't get called out, though.) But, the socks - I didn't know about that. I do not support that at all. And, having lived in several parts of the country, I am saddened to hear from someone who was dropped from an organization because she would not participate on the holiest day in her religion. We've not come as far as we think, we of our country. It is more and more apparent every day that we have so far still to go. Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

    1. I was sad to hear that she was not allowed to take a religious holiday off. But I'm also sad to hear that one of our presidential candidates goes around promising "we're going to start saying Merry Christmas again in this country."

  8. You know, I tend to agree with you, but I think this is a life and death situation. As a business owner, do I have problems with employees promoting their political beliefs? Of course I do. But this is a serious issue, and he is bringing attention to it, and the conversation...(including your thoughtful blog post). I don't know him, I don't care about football, and I don't know how genuine he is. But the conversation is important, and I respect him for taking a stand.

    1. I completely agree (and I hope I expressed it) that the conversation is important. People are dying, hatred is accepted, something needs to change.

  9. I wish there were more Mr. Washington's in this world. He was my Jr High principal. He was an African American in a position of high esteem in a predominately white school in the early 70's. He may have only stood five and half feet tall but he was a giant among men. He was respected and admired not only for his wisdom, but because he was firm and fair. He praised when you did good, counseled and punished when you did bad. He encouraged and sought out the best in everyone. He treated everyone the same regardless of the color of their skin or economic status. In his eyes we were all equal. Yes, I am white. And how I wish there were more Mr. Washington's in this world.

    1. From your description I too wish there were more Mr. Washingtons in this world. But I also wish for a world that is a more comfortable place for the Mr. Washingtons we do have.


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