It’s a common tactic when someone simply doesn’t like what you’re doing to change the meaning behind it to fit their own purposes. That’s what has happened with the NFL player protests. From the beginning it was about protesting racial inequality and police brutality. The protest was to kneel during the National Anthem to raise awareness to the cause.
Those who don’t like their cause or would seek to say they have no cause at all, quickly shifted the focus to that of disrespecting the flag and that of course leads to the accusation of disrespecting the military — none of which is true.
The result is the NFL taking the protests into their own hands without consulting the Players Association and deciding to prohibit demonstrations of any kind during the anthem, offering only to allow any players who do not wish to stand to stay in the locker room.
Raiders tight end Jared Cook — known for his social awareness — was asked for his thoughts on the NFL’s response. He paused for a considerable time to think about it. Then gave a perfect response.
“The narrative has changed on what it was originally about,” Cook said. “It’s a real issue in this country. It’s sad that you can’t have great minds that come together to fix a problem and talk about a problem and make the situation better for all. And I think that it’s sad that it’s gotten to this point. It’s sad that people are losing their lives for minuscule details that aren’t even as important as the bigger picture. That’s just the life that we live, that’s the time that we’re living in.
“We’re here for a bigger platform,” Cook continued. “We’re not just athletes. We’re people that live this. There’s people in our neighborhoods, people that we grew up with, people that we know that are actually living through these circumstances. So, when we speak on it, it’s not like we’re speaking out the side of our neck. There’s things that actually touch home and things that we can actually relate to. All I gotta say is that I just think it’s sad how it’s veered from being something that stood for good and the whole narrative that’s changed to something that’s negative when that’s not what it was initially about in the first place.”
What’s interesting about Cook is despite his candor and how outspoken he is with regard to social issues, he was not one of the players who regularly kneeled during the anthem. Outside of the week there were demonstrations across the NFL following Donald Trump calling for ‘son of a bitch’ players who kneel to be fired, the only demonstration Cook is known to have been a part of was the ‘Hands up, don’t shoot’ prior to a game in St Louis in 2014 while with the Rams.
For those who are wondering if Cook had any better idea than the one the NFL came up with, he presented one. He gave a pretty good solution the league could explore if they would just listen to the players instead of making these decisions without them.
“I think there could have been a bigger and better way to fix the situation,” Cook continued. “You could’ve had... alright you got Breast Cancer [Awareness] month. Just have a Social Injustice month. Raise money, bring positive light to it instead of making it negative. Focus on the good and focus on fixing the situation instead of making it worse. I just think there could’ve been steps to prevent it and make it better for both sides.”
Well said, Cook. Well said.
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