Do You Stand or Kneel?

The other day, I drove past a gigantic American Flag in Carmel Indiana. It was dancing in the cool breeze. I started to think about everything that is going on with the NFL and players kneeling during our National Anthem and how it has spread to sporting events at all levels.
Here is my take on it all:

When my 3-year-old daughter asks me why we stand and honor our flag and country during the National Anthem, it is something I can explain with clarity. It’s a uniting purpose. It is tied to the sacrifices made by men and woman who laid down their life so we could live in a free country and have the freedom and rights we do … like kneeling during the National Anthem.

We have that freedom and right to kneel, but the question is – should we exercise that right in that specific moment? When we stand for the National Anthem, it’s a moment that we all stand together in unity, strength and honor. It’s not about politics, race, religion or sex – it’s about honor, respect and character.

However, when 13 random football players kneel and my daughter asks me why, I have no simple answer. NONE. Each has their own personal agenda as to why they choose to kneel. However, do the kneelers not realize that the millions of fans watching also have a reason and right to kneel as well? (I will explain that in a minute) Maybe when a player kneels, their “intention” isn’t to be selfish, but it’s still a personal choice that has personal and public consequences. You can’t escape that truth. But, it is still your right…a right that was provided at a cost.

The bigger picture

There isn’t a single one of us who doesn’t have some unique reason to kneel during the National Anthem. Think about it, if you have a heart, you are aware that our world is not perfect and it is filled with injustice, so does kneeling help or hurt the injustice we see or feel called too? For the sake of unity, is there a better approach to getting a better result?

The presentation of kneeling gets attention, but is it getting the job done? Isn’t that the actual goal-to get something accomplished or make something happen?

The saddest part to this picture is now people are kneeling because they think it’s trendy. They do it to get attention. (It’s not trendy at all.) The moment you kneel is the moment you communicate to everyone standing, “I have my own personal agenda in this moment, so I choose not to stand with you.”

And now, Colin Kapernick is suing the NFL for keeping him out of the NFL. He calls it collusion, but isn’t it really more of a leadership choice based on the circumstance? Choices have consequences. The moment he sat and then eventually kneeled, he took the football out of football. It was no longer about beer and brats and fans and having fun. He made it about something else. He altered the focus and planted a distraction.

If I am an NFL owner or in a leadership role , I have a responsibility to eliminate distractions and keep everyone focused and headed in the right direction. Great leaders do not promote or fuel division and distractions in the workplace. This is true for any organization in any industry. Just watch an episode of Undercover Boss. Colin might have a lot left in the tank And be exceptionally talented, but anyone in leadership understands that distractions and division are what weaken a team, a company or a relationship. At the end of the day you might have a great heart and a good intention, but the truth remains distractions that lead to division do not win games.

What do those words really mean to us?

The National Anthem is a brief moment we are privileged to stand and demonstrate unity. It’s a showcase of strength. While each of us has our own unique reason to kneel, for a brief moment, we instead choose to rise and unite. That is how we persevere and conquer life’s injustices; we find strength in each other. Like the saying states, “The strength of the wolf is in the pack and the strength of the pack is in the wolf.”

The bottom line is, you have the right to kneel, but remember that right came at a significant price. When we stand, we stand united. It’s a moment that says we are stronger together than we are divided. I heard a quote the other day, “On one leg we limp, but with two legs we can sprint.”

We can always accomplish more if we come together and work together. The more divided we are, the weaker we become. If we are going to solve, correct or do anything about an injustice in our world, we can do more together. We can always do more when we create a plan, have a strategy, inspire, get involved, lend a hand, focus on what we can control, seek wisdom and think of the best presentation to create awareness and a call to action.

Be thankful and honor those who provided the right to kneel, because in China – if you kneel during their National Anthem or protest it, they give you an minimum 3 years in prison.

Lets take action and evolve our thinking by doing what unites us and makes us stronger. That is how we will rise up and defeat the injustices in the world. Again – UNITED WE STAND, DIVIDED WE FALL.

Remember – Attitude Changes Everything!


Sam Glenn, The Attitude Guyby Sam Glenn – The Attitude Guy
Award Winning Superhero Speaker, Author, Dad, Husband and Very Bad Golfer

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