Editor’s Note: I am always keen on finding good ideas. This author has a good idea that I believe is worth thinking about.
By Mark Wilkins, Author
A Solution to the Take A Knee Issue
Last Season, NFL Player Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem for all of the league games he participated in. He was subsequently released by his team and no other NFL team has picked him up. He took a knee to protest the continuous wave of unarmed African American and Hispanic youth and men killed by armed police officers in America. He used his constitutional right of free speech to express himself by taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem.
What Kaepernick may not have realized is that the constitutional right to free speech has limitations. Employers have the right to sanction and even fire employees who express themselves in a form that isn’t in alignment with their company values. Kaepernick expressed himself for a cause he really believes in and in so doing, may have sacrificed his career.
This season, NFL players on many teams are also taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem at pro football games. Partly as a result of this, the ratings on televised NFL games have suffered. The NFL is in a quandary. Many Americans realize that the killings of unarmed African American and Hispanic youth and men is wrong but they don’t feel that taking a knee is justified because taking a knee during the national anthem disrespects the entire nation and those who have fought and died to preserve and defend it.
I have a proposed solution to the issue. I propose that the NFL issue a fine to those who take a knee during the national anthem. The money from the fine should go to charities that help disabled military veterans or that provide disaster relief in the U.S.A. The fine should be fair so as to be felt by players commensurate with their salary. I propose the fine be 1% of annual their salary per incident of taking a knee during the national anthem. In this way, a player who makes $200.000 a year will be fined $2,000 and one who makes $20,000,000 will be fined $200,000. They will both feel it the same instead of the big money players barely feeling the pinch and the players getting less money losing a financial finger. I also think that the players union should go along with this.
Some may think that this is harsh but to them I say, the right to free speech isn’t free. Almost every player in the NFL is part of America’s financial elite. Many of them rose up from poverty and adverse circumstances but now they are making more money in one season than most Americans earn in 5-10 years of their working lives and many Americans will earn in their lifetime. A guy who works at a fast food restaurant for minimum wage could easily be fired for taking a knee during the national anthem so why should one of America’s financial elite be able to protest without some kind of sacrifice? Players Unions should go along with this because if NFL ratings continue to go down, NFL revenues will go down and so will player’s salaries. Is it fair that every player’s salaries should go down because of the actions of some players?
I propose that the NFL make an announcement before the playing of the national anthem, letting people know that players who take a knee do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the NFL but that in so doing they are agreeing to do something patriotic and are donating 1% of annual their salary towards a charity that benefits disabled veterans or provides American disaster relief. Colin Kaepernick made a much larger sacrifice than that for expressing his beliefs. The least the other NFL players should do is make a financial sacrifice.
This is what I believe will be an equitable solution for the NFL.
Mark Wilkins, Author.
Reply back to me at Markwilkinsauthor@gmail.com or #takeaknee
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