Enough with Protest, Let’s Talk

Sports Ethics is not political and it cannot be biased, bent, swayed or manipulated. Sports Ethics cannot be media driven or beholden to sponsorships and endorsements.

chuck-gallagherSports Ethics does not stand for anyone’s national anthem nor does it sit, whine, beg or scream. Sports Ethics does not follow or favor a given team. Sports Ethics doesn’t care if your coach is named Lombardi or Belichick or Dungy, or if your favorite athlete was/is Serena or LeBron or Peyton or Wambach or Steph.

Sports Ethics is.

So it bothers us when we hear comments like: How ethical is Colin Kaepernick?

We don’t know.

What we do know is that the internet, the media, sponsors, leagues, associations, coaches and the athletes themselves usurp words like “ethics.” Pretty soon, people argue about words like ethics.

“Don’t tell me about ethics,” someone may scream.

“Screw your (blank) ethics,” someone else might reply.

What we do know

Good sports ethics asks, that if we are confronted by a major, serious issue, that it is time for all of us to stop talking and start listening. Good sports ethics demands we stop pointing fingers. It does no good. Nor are sound bites effective, nor repeated images of angry, screaming people, or people wrapping themselves in flags, or violence or threats of violence. Or boycotts.

Please. Sit down. Let’s talk. Let’s reach agreements. Let’s understand.

Ethically, one of the problems is that a lot of people know what they really want to say, but either they can’t get the words out or no one will let them get the words out. All that creates is anger and deep frustration.

If we are trying to solve problems, none of us can solve those problems by walking around and talking to ourselves. Or much worse, just talking about those problems to people who think exactly like us. That is how wars are started.

On several occasions on LinkedIn and the Sports Ethics blog and other platforms, Chuck Gallagher, the president of Sports Ethics, LLC has said: “Ultimately, what brings us together is much stronger than what drives us apart.”

If we didn’t believe it, we would not have said it.

Colin Kaepernick sat down during the national anthem because something serious was troubling him. Something he needed to do. Was an NFL game the right forum? It is not an ethical question. Don’t make it into one. It was the right decision for him.

We also need to repeat something we’ve said as well before: in NFL games across the country a majority of fans cannot wait for the anthem to end. They are talking, texting, drinking, cheering in the middle, eating nachos or hot dogs and scratching body parts. Most are not singing. They are disrespecting. Most have no hands over hearts. Many never remove their hats. They may be standing, but many are not “present.” So where is the ethical behavior in that?

Let us not be so quick to condemn.

On the other hand, kneeling or sitting because “it’s cool,” or due to peer pressure, or because we want to impress people on Facebook or Snapchat is stupid as hell as well. Berating someone who is not conforming to your idea of protest is not helpful but divisive. It is also a form of bullying.

Ethically what we all need to do is to stop posturing, start conversing and maybe look for solutions. Protest begs the question of “OK, what do we do now?”

Here is one simple proposal. Chuck Gallagher (www.chuckgallagher.com or www.sportsethics.com) is one of America’s leading speakers on ethics. We offer this idea:

Chuck will speak on any legitimate media outlet about current sport ethics issues or will participate in any legitimate event or will even moderate such an event as an ethical voice. There are no self-serving expectations, no strings, no hype. Maybe, we can help. Ethics demands it of us.


Chuck Gallagher

Sports Ethics, LLC

(828) 244-1400







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