As a police officer, I could not speak to the public about my political views while at work. In fact, I could have gotten into trouble if I had. But that’s not the only reason I didn’t do it. I didn’t do it because that’s not what the good citizens of my city were paying me to do. They were paying me to come to work and do my job.
That’s what bothers me most about the NFL players, notably a former San Francisco 49er, Colin Kaepernick, and a current Seattle Seahawk, Michael Bennett, who are conducting political protests while at work. That’s not what we, as fans, are paying them to do.
OK, so their teams’ owners are paying them. But where does their money come from?
What is it about rich and famous performers and athletes who don’t believe society’s laws, rules, or good manners apply to them? They speak out and then complain about being oppressed when they suffer the consequences. They don’t like their free speech having to endure the competition of the free speech of those with opposing views.
Why, while they’re at work, can’t they just shut up and act, sing, or play football? If they want to speak out politically, why can’t they just call a press conference or give an interview on a local or national news or entertainment network?
I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t watch a football game to hear or see political views. Is that weird?
Let’s look at it this way. You have a clogged drain in your kitchen sink. Pete the plumber arrives. He’s talented and has always done a great job for you. You lead him to the problem sink. He’s about to do the service for which you will pay him so handsomely when, suddenly, he pauses. Instead of getting to work, he turns toward you and launches into all the reasons why America is so racist. Then he adds how much he hates President Trump.
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Even if you agree, it’s not what you’re paying him to do. If you don’t agree, and he does it once, you might let it go. But what if he does it every time he comes to do work? What if your babysitter, carpenter, roofer, electrician, cable TV tech, firefighter, pizza delivery person, etc. did it, too? At some point you will stop hiring these people, right?
Michael Bennett and other current and former NFL players are now asking Roger Goodell for the league to support them in their political cause. They want November to officially spout their view of racial equality and police reforms. Before inflicting another dubious decision on the NFL, perhaps Mr. Goodell should first ask himself how he would feel about a worker showing up at his house and staging a political protest before fixing something?
This is how many NFL fans feel about allowing, never mind endorsing, employees to offend millions of its customers.
When I recently chatted with some rabid fans of a team with knee-taking players, they lamented how fed up they were with this nonsense that has no place in the workplace.
Steve Pomper is an OpsLens contributor and retired Seattle police officer. He has served as a field training officer, on the East Precinct Community Police Team, and as a precinct mountain bike coordinator. He has a BA in English Language and Literature. This OpsLens piece is used by permission.
(photo credit, article image: spine, Flickr)