This is on a t-shirt I just saw available on the Internet, and we know that t-shirt merchants seem dialed into anything and everything of social importance, and they get there almost overnight. The meme was just that simple play on the initials No Fans Left and as much t-shirt wisdom goes, is quite profound in its simplicity.
We appear very proud at times as we become walking billboards supporting this or that cause, this or that movement in our own very personal way without a lot of verbal bombast…just that simple graphic t-shirt statement. The NFL owners would do well to take note…and the NFL players especially would do well to take note.
This whole brouhaha has taken on a life of its own, as many do, telling us just how the wearer feels about multi-million dollar athletes making social statements that are perceived to be beyond their pay grade. Those individuals have taken it upon themselves to parade their beliefs as being even more important than is their allegiance to the great flag of our country in many cases (although fewer cases as some seem to have come to understand they are playing with a flame that could consume their ability to earn a living playing a game).
Sometimes in this life, we find ourselves on a podium we didn’t even see before we were upon it. Some of us acquit ourselves well considering that there was no prior warning we were about to be in a spotlight of sorts. Some of us don’t do so well in that set of circumstances.
For those accustomed to a podium being accorded to them due to their athletic prowess, and not necessarily to their speaking acumen or to their wisdom, this opportunity can quickly become an opportunity for self-destruction of a personal brand they’d come into by benevolence. Simply listen to the boobirds when the National Anthem is being played/sung finds athletes acting-up by kneeling or sitting or linking arms or anything but showing their personal pride in our flag for which many have died that we might be able to listen to that anthem before sporting events.
They have not thought through this debacle of their own creation…obviously. They apparently didn’t even consult with their personal agent who would likely have been able to forewarn that they were playing with fire and would likely get burned, as would their agent if those payroll dollars were stopped for a while.
In fact, the vast majority of these NFL players are very bright or they wouldn’t be where they are. They know this game inside out and have help from coaches specializing in the most subtle nuances of the game. BUT, they seem bereft of the understanding of the symbolic nature of the way they have chosen to “act out”, and of how deeply ingrained the loyalty to that flag is amongst us fans.
Us fans are normal, regular people for the very most part. We didn’t have the gift of an NFL contract handed to us because God gave us an unusual set of physical talents. He gave us each other talents for which we are thankful, although likely not often enough. It is way too easy to become enthralled with self to the point that we begin to think we deserve the praise of millions of fans.
If you think about it, we often are most praising of the athlete who does understand that he or she has a God-given talent and who knows that this is a blessing accorded to him or her by a power greater than self.
These football players have not, and seemingly still have not yet in many cases, given deep thought to the very special gifts they have been given; and, they seemingly have not or do not understand we know that these are gifts and that we applaud their use of those gifts. We know from whom those talents came, and we praise Him as we applaud them whether we understand that or not at that moment.
A lesson lays in these ruins for each of us: if we ever find ourselves receiving accolades for anything, we need to take that moment to thank Him from whom these talents/gifts came, and to be sincere in doing so. Most of us know where these gifts come from even if we do not talk about that openly, and most of us wish we had the strength to give thanks similarly to how we wish these young men would do. Our responsibility is to remember all this if and when we have that moment with someone or many someones patting us on the back for an accomplishment.
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