I am taking off my pastor hat for just a moment and putting on my training and consulting hat. Yes, I know they overlap sometimes.
Why am I doing this?
I want to talk about this not standing for the flag business. Peaceful protest in a free society is the hallmark of many of our advances. Many I know well have fought to preserve that freedom. Many gave the full measure of devotion.
Freedom is fantastic. Enjoying freedom in our nation even more so!
I want to share something that the Apostle Paul said about freedom. OK, I never really take my pastor’s hat all the way off…
Paul said that he may do anything, but not everything is profitable.
I am free to do all things, but not everything is beneficial.
Which brings us to one of my favorite words: Efficacy.
Efficacy is the power to effect desired change. Self-efficacy is about making change in ourselves.
Efficacy is what enables you to lose weight, stop smoking, study more, correct performance errors. Efficacy is what is required to raise your batting average from .225 to .275.
Efficacy is why some companies succeed and others fade away. Efficacy is why some sports teams adapt and overcome and others wish they made the play-offs.
Efficacy is why some national and international issues get resolved and others linger.
Efficacy was a word that I used over and over again with inmate clients. What is your goal. To never come back to this place again.
I agreed that one belonged at or near the top of every list.
Then, something would happen. A piece of property was confiscated. Someone cut in the chow line (yes, I’m still talking prison not 1st grade), or some other thing that in the context of getting and staying out of prison made little difference.
But inmates went to extremes to call attention to the injustice of having an unauthorized item of electronics confiscated often at the extent of internal sanctions. When the inmate came back for counseling, I asked, “Did that outburst get you any closer to your goal?”
Words were not necessary.
So let’s jump to the NFL and players taking a knee. Does it get them any closer to their goal?
Unless their goal is to alienate about 95% of the people in this country—most of whom love the peaceful protest as a right few around the world enjoy like we do, the answer is no. I am not really sure what the goal was, if there was one when all of this knee-taking started. I’ve heard race relations, police relations, and even cop hating.
If all you do is upset most of the people who love America, how can you get anything accomplished other than making whatever problem you think you are bringing to light move farther and farther into the background while the focus narrows to the act of protest itself.
Prostests and protestors seldom are logical when they get going, but this one has been going on for a while and none of the protestors are doing the wise thing.
Clarifying their message. What is their message.
Here’s something they might want to try. It is within the domain of efficacy—the power to effect desire change.
Take something that most of us don’t have—a lot of money, and put some of it towards a coherent message. Take some of it to start programs to help fix the problems.
I know some of the knee takers have made token investments. If these causes were important enough to tick off most of the nation, support them with real investment.
While you are at it, stand for the National Anthem. You are going to need those people that you anger every week if you really want something fixed in this country.
So you are angry that President Trump called you out on this. Here’s the deal: When you step onto the playing field of politics—and that’s what you did when you took a knee during the National Anthem—there are not refs to protect you.
You think that you hit hard in the NFL. You guys are wimps compared to playing on the field of politics. That stuff is for real.
You can’t run with the ball and then call for a fair catch in politics.
You wouldn’t let junior high kids play against an NFL team. The kids would get hurt. So why think that you can play politics with the big boys and not get laid out on occasion. There is no targeting foul in politics.
You played with the big boys. It hurt. Stop crying foul where there is none.
Do I think that many of these players taking a knee have something to say about real problems in our nation? Yes, I think that they do.
I also think that practicing efficacy will get them closer to what they want to accomplish, much more so than seeking to draw attention to themselves.
Which is more important: Calling attention to me or garnering support for solutions to things that need fixed. Is it all about me or is it really about those things that matter to me?
Many of these players went to college. Some graduated. By academic standards they should be considered well educated, but they choose to practice ignorance. They chose to evoke negative emotions where unity is needed.
They thrive on being divisive, when divisiveness will not bring about solutions.
I want to know what has these players think we need to fix. I won’t find that out by watching them take a knee. I am not going to try to figure it out by searching news clips and web posts.
Come out and tell me in a public service announcement but don’t ask me to choose between loving my country and the flag which so proudly most of us hail and your antics. The best that you can hope for there is that I just ignore you.
My freedom permits me to do all things, but not all things are profitable.
Hey! Players! You guys who for years most people thought were pretty good guys. This take a knee play that you are running isn’t working. You are losing yardage.
You make the sports reel every week but it’s in the bloopers section.
Try something else. Try something that gets people on your side. Believe or not, most of us want a better America for everyone.
We are the people that you want on your team. Stop alienating us.
Here is the thing that I hope these college educated football player can grasp. This is the country where we the people have the best chance of fixing things.
We have the best chance—of all the nations in the world—of making things better, but a house divided cannot stand.
If you want division, then you are succeeding.
If you want to work together on real problems and issues and explore new opportunities for all Americans, It’s time to run a different play.
Run a different play.
God bless America.