Compromise: a middle state between conflicting opinions or actions reached by mutual concession or modification.
As most of us eagerly waited to see how our national anthem “issues” played out recently before the NFL game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers, I was hoping for a happy ending to another disappointing chapter of “How to Divide our Country in Two.”
Obviously, it’s never fun to watch our Ravens lose, but at the end of this day I found myself really proud — and relieved — of how the NFL found a way to compromise for “all” sides of the stand or kneel issue. The NFL took a tough situation, showed great leadership and finally some guts!
For those not aware of the situation (mostly those living under a rock), President Donald “No Filtering Skills” Trump provoked an already-sensitive issue of “to kneel or not to kneel” for our national anthem. This resulted with some NFL players kneeling during the playing of our national anthem to protest the poor treatment of African-Americans by some police officers. It is certainly their constitutional right to do this. But many questioned if this was the best way to protest their cause.
Many people across our country were angered about the kneeling, and they responded with a protest of their own. Again, it’s their constitutional right to protest as well. This counter-protest included fans threatening to sell their season tickets, boycott the purchasing of anything associated with the NFL, and some even started online protest petitions.
Personally, I was disappointed and disheartened to see anyone kneel for our national anthem. I also thought about what our young fans were thinking as they watched and processed for themselves as this issue unfolded amid radio and TV coverage, not to mention making the headlines of prominent newspapers across the entire nation.
With a standoff that threatened to carry on throughout the professional football season and increase tensions, the NFL acted swiftly. Before the game started, all players and coaches knelt to pray before “The Star-Spangled Banner” was played. After taking a few moments for prayer, all players and coaches then stood and remained standing for the entire playing of the national anthem.
This was a smart and well-thought-out plan. Whatever side you are on regarding this issue doesn’t matter. At this point, everyone should reach the “forgive-and-move-on” mode of the kneeling subject. But never forget! This is a brilliant way to teach and remind people of all ages about the power of compromise. Kudos to the NFL for figuring out a way to do it. I hope there are plenty of NFL fans in the White House, Senate and House of Representatives!
Making everyone happy is impossible, and remember there will always be narcissistic individuals who will never go with the flow. But doing what the majority wants is the only way to go, and the NFL did just that. If you don’t agree, you probably don’t understand and/or appreciate what a democracy is all about.
These days, it’s really hard to find “a teachable moment.” Hopefully many of you will use this great opportunity to show how people with different views and opinions found common ground to resolve a tough situation.
Hello, politicians, hint, hint, hint! I have been saying for a long time, “Please engage with the other side, find common ground” and “just talk about it.” Maybe the NFL started something much more important than football — making the art of compromising fashionable again.
Let’s pray and stand tall in support, they have done just that.
A former businessman with an extensive background in community service, Charlie Levine is founder and executive director of the Team Up For 1 Foundation, a nonprofit that connects children with challenges to the experience of team sports. He is also former executive director of Friends of the Israel Defense Forces.
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