NFL takes a knee — but America is bigger than a game

Americans have generally supported the free-speech rights of our favorite athletes. But disrespecting the national anthem puts partisanship above the American flag — a symbol of freedom and liberty — that so many have died to protect.

Like so many others, I was raised to respect and honor Old Glory. I even would get a lump in my throat as a grade-schooler, placing my hand over my heart when proudly reciting the pledge of allegiance. I was raised to believe that America is defined by our ideals and enduring spirit, but our nation’s flag represents so much more… The concept and promise of the American dream.

While I agree that every American has the First Amendment right to freely express their opinions; I do not agree that you have a right to use your place of employment as the vehicle from which you promulgate your point of view. To do that is to abuse the private property rights of your employer.

When you choose to go work for a person or a business, you implicitly agree to follow that organization’s rules. You also agree to represent them in a way that enhances the overall value of the company or the overall value of the charity or the overall value of the sporting franchise.

Ultimately being an employee is a contract with an employer for the benefit of the employer’s customers.

Any attempt by an employee to promulgate a political philosophy — using the communication mechanisms paid for by an employer — is simply wrong and should not be permitted. An employee’s First Amendment rights cannot infringe upon an employer’s right to conduct their business and serve their customers. Such behavior is not only selfish but could be detrimental to the ultimate survival of the organization.

If they want to join a protest march for some cause or run for office or write an op-ed to persuade others to their point of view that is great; that is our way of changing public opinion for political purposes. But, to use your employer’s access to the public for your own political purposes crosses the line.

I personally believe our nation’s flag represents some of the best ideas of humankind. The flag does not just represent those brave soldiers from time past and current who have died to preserve and protect our freedom. The flag also represents the very definition of the American dream. And the American dream has a definition that includes the concept originally birthed in the Declaration of Independence that we have a right to our own happiness.

In the current situation of NFL players dropping to a knee during the national anthem, it is my view that a clear work rule would go a long way. If I were the commissioner of the NFL, I would require that all who wish to play must stand. They do not have to salute but they can’t shake their fist. They must stand out of respect for our flag and all it represents during the national anthem. If they don’t believe our flag is worthy of their respect, then I would not allow them to play. The game includes patriotism as an essential ingredient to its overall success — the fighter planes flying overhead, the singing of the national anthem, the half-time celebrations honoring war heroes, etc. It is completely reasonable to expect the employees to follow the work rules.

But it is up to the NFL — as a business, to decide how to best serve its customers. And, the customer experience should factor in all the touchpoints. I would want to focus on the customer coming away with a fantastic experience, untainted by anything that distracts from the ideal customer experience. It is a football game.

As Americans, we come from many backgrounds and pursue happiness as we define it. But when you don’t stand up for the flag in a public setting; where the national anthem is being played; where the whole moment is a celebration of the American dream; where in this instance the players are at the pinnacle of the attainment of that dream; you are saying you are against all those who are still pursuing that American dream but have not achieved it quite yet.

Regardless of what the NFL decides to do as the employer, I respectfully request that, out of honor for America’s contribution toward freedom, everyone representing the team stand out of deference and admiration for what the flag really means.



Colorado Springs entrepreneur Barry Farah considers run for governor

Colorado Springs entrepreneur Barry Farah is considering a run for governor on the Republican ticket, Colorado Politics has learned.

Farah would join an already crowded field, which is still developing. Some top names already in the race include Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler, entrepreneur and former state Rep. Victor Mitchell and investment banker Doug Robinson, who is also Mitt Romney’s nephew.

The primary field for governor is expected to grow with state Treasurer Walker Stapleton. Attorney General Cynthia Coffman is also seriously considering a run, and Colorado Politics broke the story this week that former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo said “it won’t take much” to persuade him to run for governor.

Multiple sources confirmed to Colorado Politics that Farah will enter the race, but the candidate himself has not yet confirmed it.

The husband of Tamra Farah, with Koch-funded group Americans for Prosperity, Barry Farah served as founder, majority owner and chief executive of a suite of business-to-business service companies for over 20 years.

He sold the companies to four different buyers, starting a software engineering firm, for which he served as founder, majority owner, and chairman for 12 years before selling it to the NASA Hubble telescope contractors.

Farah also has a background in commercial development in California and Colorado.

He is the founder and chief executive of Precocity LLC, a technology company that has a wide range of clients, including some Fortune 500 companies.

Farah also has written books and he also gives speeches on the subject of business.

On the Democratic side of the gubernatorial race, top names include former state Sen. Mike Johnston, former state Treasurer Cary Kennedy, U.S. Rep. Jared Polis and Denver civic leader Noel Ginsburg.

The Democratic field also is developing, as Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne considers a run.


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