I want to send thoughts and prayers out to state Rep. Chris Harris and his family and wish a full and speedy recovery to his son.

In case you are wondering, I am the author of this column, not some alleged insider. Unlike the New York Times, we never print columns, op/ed’s or letters until we verify and name the author. Blogs and other misfit social media outlets that don’t care about creditability will publish anything.

I’m not going to go out and burn any of my Nike gear, I already paid for it and I’m not going to damage my stuff to send a message. But it will probably be a while before I get more.

A former NFL quarterback decided to exercise his right to a peaceful protest and take a knee during the national anthem before a game a few years back. He was let go and has been considered by the league to be a cancer. Since then, no team has picked him up and now he is filing a lawsuit against the league owners. 

Last week, Nike decided to use the former player as the face of their new ad campaign, which has nothing to do with the performance of their product to entice jocks like me to get more stuff. But instead they focused on a social issue. If you remember, Benneton did that several years ago and they barely exist now.  

The former player wanted to peacefully protest what he calls social and racial injustice by law enforcement against black people in America. He has that right to do so. The problem is that he chose to do that on his employer’s time. The league, i.e. the employer, has rules and he broke them. To this day, other players are doing the same and that’s why the NFL ratings are going in the toilet. And will continue to drop unless the league enforces or changes the rules. Do you remember when Bears quarterback Jim McMahon was fined for wearing a headband with his handwriting on it, which the league considered not part of the uniform?

If he really wanted to protest or make a point, he should have done so on his time, not on that of the ticket holders, the owners and the other teams. If he wanted to protest, he and his wealthy, privileged player friends should have pooled their money and resources and started a non-violent, peaceful protest that was professionally handled. Perhaps after a game during the press conference, express their positions. Even the Traditionalist Workers Party staged a peaceful protest in Pikeville. They came, got their misguided point across and left. 

The irony here is that Nike is paying him millions of dollars to be the face of the campaign that is about injustice while they pay people in third world countries next to nothing to make their stuff. If he really wanted to send a message, he would tell Nike, “No,” or donate his endorsement money to the child laborers who make Nike products. 

I respect the right to a peaceful protest. And I do believe in some cases that law enforcement needs better training. We as a society have a lot of work to do regarding social injustice, and a peaceful protest can make people aware of an issue. Rosa Parks was very successful.  

Thanks for reading the News-Express.

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