“Stand, put your hand over your heart and sing loudly and proudly our national anthem... you live in this amazing country called, “The United States of America” — show our fans we care and respect their commitment to us; they are our customers, and without them we do not exist!”
That is the speech I would have given my team if I was an owner, head coach or quarterback in the NFL on Sunday Sept. 24. “You take a knee, you will be benched!”
If you want to voice your opinion on a subject you are passionate about, you do it on your time and your dime.
So once this “Take a Knee” theme gets old — do we now take a knee for someone else’s cause? Do we take a knee for all the women out there that are abused by men of all races, do we take a knee for all the homeless children in our country, do we take a knee for all the police officers, men and women, killed in the line of duty by white males, do we take a knee/lock arms for ... you get my point.
For me, as a head coach of a NFL football team, this should not have anything to do with some guy (refuse to list his name) taking a knee in a preseason game last summer or the comments that our president made about “firing those SOBs,” and definitely not about being a follower, that as a NFL team we are going to support our fellow NFL buddies. No, for this head coach it is more about showing our honor and respect for all the men and women who fought for our country, so that “I and each and every one of you can walk out on that field today, heads held high to show our fans we are leaders in our country and great role models for all the people in the stands supporting us with their hard-earned money. You have a dream job, that most Americans can only dream about.
“Honor it, and be grateful.”
This is also what I would have shared with my team that day. Unlike Mike Tomlin, head coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers, he and his other head coaches were on the sideline for the anthem; however, he felt it fine to allow his team to stay in the locker room. One player could not go along with the crowd — Alejandro Villanueva came out of the locker room and stood proudly with his hand over his heart. The next day he was quoted to have said, “... But then again, I left my team behind and I regret this as well.” OMG, we need more women and men of this caliber today!
This got me to thinking about myself and our team at Central. When was the last time we had the opportunity or created the opportunity to recite the Pledge of Allegiance or sing our national anthem?
Our team recently attended our annual Best Practices Super Meeting, this year in our nation’s capital. There we had the opportunity to listen to Dr. Nido Qubein, president of High Point University in North Carolina, an immigrant when he came to the United States with just $50 in his pocket at the age of 18.
Fast-forward to about eight years ago, when he became president; his first month he raised more than $20 million and proceeded to build an additional 47 buildings over the next 7 years for the university. Dr. Qubein begins each speech by having the audience stand and say the Pledge of Allegiance, and proceeds to share that this is a symbol to remind each and every one of us how fortunate we all are to live in this amazing country, where the streets are paved in gold and only you limit your success!
I can only imagine his comments on Sunday, Sept. 24 and then going forward. I have to share that I have not been compelled to watch any football since that moment in time. Some tweets call this act of disrespect justifiable because the NFL never played our anthem before the game unless during war.
At the end of World War II, NFL Commissioner Elmer Layden called for all of the league’s teams to play “The Star-Spangled Banner” at their games, saying, “The national anthem should be as much a part of every game as the kick-off. We must not drop it simply because the war is over.
We should never forget what it stands for.” We need Layden back today! Over the course of all of this, Central has invested in two American flags and two state flags that are now hanging in both of our training rooms. God Bless America, where you can rest assured that as the President of Central HCPE, I have got your backs, unlike many NFL teams/coaches, and as our customer, we appreciate you and want to say “thank you!”
And remember, whether you are in Kalispell, Whitefish, Bigfork, Columbia Falls or anywhere else in the Flathead Valley. . .As always, your Comfort is our Central concern, for all your heating, cooling, plumbing, electrical and drain cleaning needs.
Our Pledge of Allegiance: Do your children know this?
“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”