National Football League (NFL): National Faith League
Football is America’s favorite past-time; and, at the same time, it provides some of the most integrated social activities in American society. On the other hand, 11:00 AM on Sunday morning is the most segregated hour in American society as well as a socio-philosophical-oxymoron. Just think about it. The reality is: Americans can “play” together; but, for some ungodly “socio-religious-psychological” reason(s), they cannot worship God in spirit and truth together. More importantly, America’s governing documents are grounded in spiritual concepts. And, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4: 24).
The Bible declares that there is a right time and place for everything: “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven: A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;” (Ecclesiastes 3: 1, 7). Hence, there is a time for kneeling against social injustice; and there is a time for “standing-up” against injustices (unrighteousness), and moving forward righteously in changing institutional structures of injustice. The National Football League has an important role that it can play in helping to change “societal-institutional-structures” of social injustice. Recently, some NFL players began kneeling during the playing of the National Anthem in order to not become bitter, but to become better, by calling attention to the issue of police misconduct. The NFL must morally play an important “socio-psychological-role” in helping its players (or gladiators), especially Black players, learn how to leave aggression on the football field and realize that they do not have to be the inspiration for resolving societal ills that they did not create.
Therefore, in every, franchise city, as part of its expected community engagement conscience building activities the NFL should provide resources and suggestions to police departments for minority “cultural” group-sensitivity-training. This would be an important societal “healing-beginning-point”, because we all understand that charity begins at home, and then spreads elsewhere (like to non-franchise-cities. Moreover, the NFL should establish a “blue-ribbon-commission” and a “governmental-lobbying-process” for both local and state entities in order to deal with the issue of “police-community-relations”. Although as Americans, all of us have the same battles, but football players should not have to fight Civil Rights battles against societal injustices, because they have their own battles. For example, after a difficult practice session and a hard fought game, some players have emotional difficulties (adrenalin highs) in socially interacting with others. These types of football personalities need some creative down time and/or help before interacting with others, especially family. Hence, NFL management must become sensitive to these types of player personalities on a team. In the midst of the most highly charged profile issue of the twenty-first century, President Trump injected partisan politics and personal animosity into the equation. In fact, he challenged NFL owners in a misguided and ungodly manner by suggesting that owners violate the Civil Rights of players as a way to deflect attention from his poor approval ratings. NFL owners are not plantation masters with high paid slaves; and, therefore, cannot arbitrarily violate Civil Rights Laws to impose their will. The First Amendment to the Constitution gives citizens the right to protest peacefully. We all know that President’s Trump’s comments were simply a “deflection tactic” to cover-up his ineptness as a Presidential leader. Basically, what the President suggested could ultimately bankrupt the NFL. And, we all know that President Trump understands bankruptcy, since he has filed four times. The NFL solution to the “police-community” problem must start with: NFL players, the NFL commissioner, and ownership management, player union representatives, Mayors, Chiefs of police departments, and police union representatives buying into a suitable process with great sensitivity on all sides.
Once again, on Sundays the NFL is a highly integrated-multicultural “social-economic-enterprise” at every level: fan participation, players, and referees. And, at the same time, Christian Right Evangelical churches are highly segregated institutions. Maybe Christian Right Evangelical churches should institute an “NFL” type policy that is a “National Faith League” oriented toward “spiritual” unity/inclusion among Americans, especially Christians. In the twenty-first century, Christian church unity is sorely needed because, seemingly, Christian Right Evangelical pastors are apparently preaching and teaching a different Gospel than the Gospel that is taught in Bible-based-Christian churches. Sometimes perception is greater than the truth; but, in the final analysis the truth is the TRUTH. God has the last word. God is love and the truth has its origin with God, and a lie is the devil. All Americans have a mind to think with, a heart to love, and a spiritual conscience to have a relationship with God in the remission of their sins. Most importantly, we must realize that Jesus, The Righteous One, is our Intercessor to God.
President Trump, 81% of Christian Right Evangelicals who voted, voted for you in the 2016 Presidential election. Without a doubt, National Faith Leaders (NFL) are central to the spiritual health and well-being of American society because, without a spiritual understanding of God and self, a nation-state perishes. The National Football League is highly integrated and reflects the multicultural nature of American society. Mr. President, you have an opportunity to “speak truth to evil“, challenge Christian Right Evangelical Church Leaders, because the churches they pastor are highly segregated. Furthermore, it is time for Christian Right Church goers to stop standing-up-tall in false pride; and, instead, get down on their knees, with humility, for the truth and righteousness of God. Remember that honor comes through humility. This will definitely negate the double-standard in Christian Right Evangelical church houses of worship. And, just maybe, this might help drain the “Swamp” in Washington as well as State Houses of governmental representation. We all need to help America become the city on a hill for the entire world to see and admire. Executive Orders cannot eliminate racism, nor can laws change the hearts of individuals. But National Faith Leaders can begin to teach the Truth of God: that equal is equal, not equal is more or less equal. God hates racism.
NFL Commissioner and Team Owners, after the kneeling-protest, we will still be divided as a nation. So, what comes next? Obviously, socio-spiritual-programmatic efforts must be creatively and professionally conceived and implemented to heal the racial divide. Selah!