Today many NFL teams permitted their players to “take a knee” and in doing so, our society reacted with outrage and threats of boycotts. I must ask the question, what would boycotting your local team and or the NFL really accomplish? Would it open the conversation truly being the reason the knee was taken? Would it ensure dialogue between races, genders and or public servants? When one player initiated the knee, he did so in quiet protest of law enforcement but many took it as an assault to our flag, our country and our military. That wasn’t his intent as far as he shared, but that’s what it’s become. Let me go on record stating that I come from a long line of past and present law enforcement and military family. I love our country (although right now I don’t like it very much) and have great respect for our flag and military who stand all day and night so we can go about our day.
But again, I ask what would boycotting do for us? In a 2011 report by Inc. Magazine, when the NFL was threatening a lock out – a study was conducted. Results of the study found players and owners would not be impacted negatively, but local businesses would be and significantly. Think about the local restaurant / pub that does pre / post game business, the local guy or gal that sells t-shirts and jerseys or the hotelier that makes a living to keep his staff on other times of the year- all during the sports season. Would boycotting help them?
“The study states that every city with an NFL franchise stands to lose about $160 million in revenue ($20 million per home game), $5 billion total, and an aggregate of 115,000 jobs. The study was commissioned by the NFLPA. Taking it a step further, Buffalo mayor Byron Brown has gone on the record stating that the city, by far one of the league's smallest markets, would lose $140 million in economic benefits from a season-long NFL lockout.” And that was done 6 years ago… what would be the socio-economic impact today? Do you care? (If you’re interested, you can find the study here)
Keeping your money out of stadiums, refusing to purchase products that support the NFL / its players and or stadiums doesn’t have real impact on the players, owners, stadiums and or NFL. It does have impact on our restaurants, seat guides at the stadiums, parking attendants etc.…. Starting a conversation, a real conversation could have real impact, but who is willing to initiate it? Right now, we are a divided country, not a united country.
Tonight, our local Senator posted a statement, like many others I’ve seen today in the news and on social media. His post was (I think) meant to create some sort of open dialogue…. Here’s the original post: “I was out and about at church and a family outing, just now hearing about the widespread kneeling, no showing and/or protesting of the national anthem in football games today. The NFL is now encouraging this behavior - whereas before they were publicly non-committal about it. I think Department of Defense should pull the money they give to the NFL for flag displays and advertising. What say you?” [Senator Justin Ready]
My response was: “How would that help the real issue and initiate the right dialogue? If we all work together, we could make a difference.” To that I was called a “snowflake” …. (not by the Senator, but someone else)
Everyone is open and free to express their opinion (yes that’s what our soldiers fight for – our freedom, including speech), and I chose not to respond to the gentleman’s snowflake comment. But it did get me thinking. People can get so worked up over things, yet they can’t seem to take that energy and put it toward something more productive. Calling me a “snowflake” just shows this gentleman’s ignorance and desire to keep things as they are divided– someone like that isn’t interested in building unity (you know a “United, States”) they are more about pointing out who’s wrong, or who has different opinions than him. When people say things like - hit the big guys, take money out of their pockets; they are showing how uneducated they are, in what the true impact would be to our communities.
This is a “hot” topic, but somewhat misguided. If we could just take the conversations flying around and put them to some type of constructive “give and take” we might actually become a country we could be really proud of again instead of a divided nation – we could unite. I’m not “Suzie sunshine” and I don’t think we can fix everything overnight – but we can stop using inflammatory words like “all, none, everyone, no one, always and never” lumping “all” of anything / anyone doesn’t help. Not all cops are bad, not all teachers are bad, not all blacks are bad, not all whites are bad – there are some bad apples in each category – can we at least agree to that?
The NFL as an organization, it’s players and owners will not be the ones who suffer, if you withhold your patronage…. Think about that for just a moment, then decide how you can really help this conversation.
Are you willing to start an open, constructive dialog?
Laura Meck, Founder & CEO
Sonata Venture Solutions
You can reach Laura at 888.626.2404 or Lmeck@sonataventure.com
Visit our website www.SonataVenture.com