Take A Knee


Remember when “taking a knee” used to be a sign of respect? Like in church to honor God. Or at a football game when players on both sides took a knee if a player from either side was injured. Traditionally, men kneel when asking their intended to marry them. Longer ago, men used to kneel when accepting the honor of being knighted.

Additionally, kids often kneel when tying their shoes and parents frequently kneel to communicate with their little ones. In the military, one often kneels to line up a shot–or kneel ever so briefly on the way to the ground as you bleed out.

Today when one hears or reads about taking a knee, you are faced with a controversial racial issue, ignited in the NFL, with both sides claiming the moral high ground. What happened? To answer, it is useful to break the answer into three parts:

  1. Legal
  2. Validity of the underlying cause
  3. Who cares?

The legal part is easy. Employees are legally allowed to protest on the job. Employers are legally allowed to either not hire or to fire protesting employees. Customers can choose to support or boycott enterprises with protesting employees(no legal statement needed here).

The kneelers make the validity of the underlying cause hard to see with any clarity. I often hear the kneeling will continue until, “There is social justice and equality for all.” That is either naively or intentionally completely vague. What are the specific injustices and inequalities? Can the kneelers speak intelligently about them? How do those specifics compare with the injustices and inequalities created by things like our failing public schools, especially those in inner cities, the slaughter in the streets of Chicago or the destruction of our black families by welfare policies that pay to keep dads out of the home? Name real injustice and inequality specifics that form a large enough percentage of our overall problem as to merit taking finite resources to address them, and many will join you. I certainly will.

In other words, let’s not have a repeat of wearing “Hands up, don’t shoot!.” That was a hoax from the beginning when 10-12 eyewitnesses made that argument on behalf of the slain Michael Brown, claiming that is what Mr. Brown did and said prior to being killed by a police officer. None of those witnesses showed up to testify in court, and tellingly none of them had any supporting photos or video. And there is always video when law enforcement might be in the wrong. But protesters–violent and peaceful–were not about to let a good cliche go to waste, and the lie lives on in the form of athletes and people wearing those t-shirts and “quoting” the lie.

One of the things missing from the conversation about race is the many things that can easily–and passionately–be confused with racism. I am a white male, but over the decades I have been spit at, flipped off, attacked by a group of young men, insulted in some truly scurrilous ways, been stolen from several times, been treated unjustly on the job–the list goes on. If I was black, how easy would it be for me to ascribe race as the cause for any and all of these hundreds of incidents?

Yes, there is racism. No, it no longer rises to the level claimed by people with a microphone and/or a platform. Racism is often claimed not to eradicate it, but to benefit the person or group making the claim.

Sadly, there is racism on both sides. We see dramatically less racism perpetrated by blacks against whites in lesser part because it does not line up the media’s agenda, and in larger part because the racists on the “other side” do not yet have the power to make their mark and do the damage they’d like.

Who cares about Taking a Knee? Donald Trump seems to. I would if I thought it would help in any real way. Do you care? Tell us in the blog. And go act on what you care about in the world.

Will Luden, writing from my home office at 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.

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12 Responses

  1. Stan Shelsta Reply

    Right on Will! As many have said, they watch NFL for entertainment, not to see/hear someone’s view on issues. there is a place and tome for everthihg, and I don’t brlieve it is at a sporeting event.

    • Will Luden Reply

      Stan, yes the NFL is following the path of politicizing everything, including plays and award ceremonies. Enough. Better to take your time to become far more well informed, then keep politics in the political arena. Cheers, Will

      • CR (Gus) Manning Reply

        Hello Will

        I have been enjoying each of your blogs. I am thinking the whole NFL/kneeling thing is almost not worth discussing. It is SO NOT ABOUT free speech. (For talk about free speech, I would rather have a discussion about the Our America Initiative petitioning the Supreme Court to break the strangle hold of two corrupt political parties who use the Commission on Presidential Debates to exclude 3rd parties from debates.) In the NFL/kneeling thing, like other recent controversies, the media goads all Americans to take one of two sides. In this case, BOTH SIDES ARE PATENTLY RIDICULOUS … a 3rd side is needed. Maybe turning off the tube is taking a 3rd side. Maybe that is what you are saying.

        • Will Luden Reply

          Gus, I feel a bit like one of my jazz heroes, Charlie “The Bird” Parker. When the judge asked him why he did drugs, and he did a lot of them, he responded by saying that when he played the music he liked, no one listened and he was broke. So, he continued, I play crap, people love it, and I do drugs. I took a flier with this week’s blog in an attempt to break through the noise level and increase readership. It worked. Way better than Statue of Responsibility, True North, etc. Stuff I feel strongly about. I believed what I wrote on this subject, but without the same passion.
          I am registered Unaffiliated in El Paso County, Colorado. I feel closer to being a Libertarian than anything else, but I worry about emphasizing more freedoms with as little responsibility as we assign to the freedoms we already have. In my heavily Republican county, unless you vote in the Republican primaries, you are not doing much with your vote. Unaffiliated voters can choose which primary to vote in. At the NFL games, I stand and salute during the anthem. The rules and regs allow vets to do that. Perhaps I should be thinking about how to rescue our government from the self-serving politicians while I do that. Look for my coming podcast and book; working title for both is Revolution 2.0™

  2. Rick Reply

    Of course I care, all of your topics are meaningful. Just forcing the time to respond on this one.
    The National Football League (NFL) is an entertainment business. “Bad press is better than no press” Rosanne Bar was an entertainer and rode the bad press too. In this case however, I can’t believe it was the NFL looking for any of the attention. Similar to the national anthem sung by Rosanne some years back.
    Sports entertainment will always be about the game. Our National games are meant to bring us together in feudal sport. Most pick their favorite team based on the community they are a part of at that time, and most would agree we are Americans before the banter and team appreciation. People siting in the same arena watching teams battle it out, some people do but most don’t hate the other teams fans. We appreciate the fact that we all have a team, win or loose, and remain Americans.
    Our Flag, National Anthem, and pregame vernacular supports this love for country first. That is the reason it is done first, to remind us as we watch the sport, all of us are together to be entertained. I wont get started on the Pledge in Schools, but the same premise exists. We unite under banners, anthems, and national pride.
    I commend the fantastic opportunity to take a stand on personal opinion, but not the way it was done. Not well thought out, just my opinion. If I were to say, “Don’t light the seventh candle on Hanuka, because the ASPCA took my cousins cat.” in Synagogue on a Saturday. Sure, I would have an audience, but the message is not received. In fact it sounds like a spoiled angry child. Players should be players on the field and use their fame to support their agenda/opinion through the media.
    Yes the act hurt a little, and yes I do feel for the player. I’m sure when it all hit the fan he felt pretty ignorant. I also feel for the NFL, they have to figure it all out to keep fans. Quick question though: Why was an employee of a National Entertainment business allowed to depict his hatred or opinion in front of the customers of that business?
    What I care about is the misuse of the Stage. Stand or don’t stand, sing or don’t sing, nobody can take my personal pride for my country. I could really care less if someone doesn’t have National Pride.

  3. Chip Reply

    With respect to the kneeling (any protest in my opinion) during the playing of the National Anthem by professional athletes.
    I find it ironic and somewhat funny that part of what they are protesting, is the president and his stance on this issue. The irony is that many people voted for the president, in part, because of these and similar forms of “disrespectful” protest towards American institutions. So in a way, these protestors are responsible for what they are protesting against.

  4. Lynn Reply

    Thinking through all the conversations I have witnessed on this topic, I find that I care, and then again, I don’t, UB. I care because I was reared with rules and respect. I’m a rules kind of gal. Sometimes rules need to be challenged, but I believe there are ‘proper’ ways to challenge them. NFL rules are being put to the test by the players who are breaking them by taking a knee. Will the rules be enforced? It appears not. Strike one.

    I respect our country and I respect our flag. I respect the right of one to peacefully protest. I choose to stand (when I am able,) place my hand over my heart, and honor our country and flag during the singing of the National Anthem. I even sing along. I am saddened by those who choose this platform to protest, especially if some or most of them are protesting our President through disrespecting our flag. Strike two.

    I care enough to read others’ opinions when they are respectfully presented. I care enough to stop watching NFL and to stop supporting the top ten NFL sponsors. I protest the protesters with my feet and my dollars; not with ugly words.

    I don’t care enough that this is the first time I have voiced my opinion in writing. Who cares about my opinion in the long run? It won’t be Geico when I change my Camry insurance; it won’t be Toyota when I don’t purchase another Camry from them, and it surely won’t be McDonalds when I no longer purchase my granddaughter’s chicken nuggets from them. So who will care in the long run? I will. And I am content with that. That is how I was raised.

    Enough said.

  5. Rick Reply

    I have started some blogs and lost interest. Been playing with a mighty network site, but lack the time to get it off and rolling. I tend to start and get pulled away for money making tasks. I’ve recently hung my shingle for Data analysis and am building a database for a Timeshare deed recovery business. I do love to write and that time will come soon 😁

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