Jobs...they come with obligations. When a company hires you, they make an obligation to pay you for your work, right? Your employer is obligated to invest in you, to train you for the position you were hired for. You, the employee, also have obligations you are expected to live up to, for example, give your employer his money's worth. An honest day's work for an honest day's wages. Most everybody will agree this is the primary unspoken agreement between any employer and his employees. Pretty simple, really.
Some jobs come with a few other obligations. You may be required to wear a name badge or a uniform. Some companies may instruct you to dress in business attire, or 'business casual.' They may expect you to shave daily...keep that mustache trimmed, boys and girls! Hair neatly trimmed, nails clean, and ix-nay on the body odor. In other words, the company that employs you may wish for you to be a positive reflection on the organization, for it is you, the employee, that at any given moment on any given day, may find yourself bearing the burden of portraying yourself as a shining example of the company you represent. No, wait...we're talking football here!
The 'take a knee' is old news now. Now before I continue, I want to say something and I'm not sure I can say it in a way that will make you understand, but I'll give it a spin. Throughout the past few years...okay, eight to be exact, I have found myself struggling to force my patriotism into action each and every time the national anthem plays. Yes, it's true. For as long as I can remember, there were times I'd stifle a sniffle and wipe a tear from my eye as that song played at some football game or rodeo. Those were emotions of pride and patriotism, and while I found myself a bit embarrassed at the prospect of folks around me watching a grown man cry, those were tears out of love for my country. Those past eight years? Well, let's just say if I had my way, things wouldn't have gone the way they have. So, there have been times in recent years that my emotions found themselves confused as my eyes focused on the American flag while the Star Spangled Banner played. I have found sadness in my heart for the way my country has turned in recent times. But yet...I've never failed to stand for the national anthem. I do it out of genuine love for my country and respect for all those who stood before me and gave me the freedom to stand and honor my flag. So, in a really warped way, I sorta understand that 'take a knee' thing. But...
I have worked in the public eye for more years than many of you have been around. With each of my jobs came obligations, one being to be a positive public representative of my employer. It's not so uncommon. Bankers, teachers, elected officials (unless they're from Washington DC) and well, preachers, to name a few, are all expected to present themselves in a positive light. It is part of the job. There have been times in the past that I have found myself having issues with the concept. I don't know why since I don't do anything out of line, anyway. I think it is the perception of an employer implying their self-given right of ownership over their employees, but...hey, have ever mentioned that I am sort of a rebel incognito. But I do understand the concept of the expectations of the organizations I represent for a paltry wage. But we're talking football here.
Sports, whether it be football, rodeo, wrestling, or NASCAR, go hand in hand with um...hotdogs and beer and the American flag. When I pay my hard earned money to go see a football game, I want hotdogs and beer and the national anthem kicking things off right. I want to see that American flag waving as thousands of patriotic Americans stand and take in the moment. You see, obligations don't just stop with your employer. Those football players are employees (not working for a paltry wage, BTW) of an organization that built itself on hotdogs and beer and the American flag. Decades were invested in building a loyal following of diehard fans who would pay money they didn't have to experience the thrill of a game that has always...always begun with the national anthem and the red, white, and blue. Those players who wish to express their views need to do it 'off the clock.' I respect them for their beliefs whether I believe them to be in the right or not, but when they're out there on that field, they came to work for...me and you. I don't need someone raining on my parade. I didn't pay my money to be subjected to someone's opinion on whatever injustice they wish to make me aware of. I paid to see some football! Go home and 'take a knee' on your balcony or on some random street corner. When you suit up, do your job from start to finish...and it starts with the national anthem. Just like it's suppose to.
I've been pissed off at the Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones ever since he fired Tom Landry, but, while he fails to say it out loud, he has implied that those who wIsh to remain employed with his organization are expected to do their job, starting with the first note of the national anthem. He stated it in this fashion:
“We respect that so much. That’s the real business. The forum of the NFL and the forum on television is a very significant thing. I’m for it being used in every way we can to support the great, great contributors in our society, and that’s people that have supported America, the flag, and there’s no reason not to go all out right there. And for anybody to use parts of that visibility to do otherwise is really disappointing.” (source: https://goo.gl/wnvuMJ )
Thumbs up, Mr. Jones, and are there any more like you out there?
Football...as American as hotdogs 'n beer, the red-white-and-blue, and the national anthem! And girls wearing red, white, and blue bikinis! Come on, let's just play football...
See more from author Rodney Strange here