Do you realize what you have done in allowing your employees the latitude to sip grande chai lattes and attempt to crochet the complexities of social justice into trendy quilt, instead of standing during our National Anthem? Even Reagan could not have predicted the shocking magnitude of the trickle down deluge of amateur athletes attempting to copy the unpatriotic behavior of their favorite professional athletes in defying a ceremonial tradition.
As with the prevalence of tattoos, now seen covering the arms of children on the tee-ball diamond, could you not see this coming, as like it or not, the stars of the gridiron are high powered and strategically marketed brand names, rather than role models? Well, at least the rest of us can all chase the past, as we revel in the warmth, accomplishments and sports memorabilia of OJ.
It is a universal fact that the private small college level athletic programs of the NAIA provide non-scholarship (there is a certain allowance for financial talent awards to a certain threshold) supported activities for students and are almost entirely funded by donors. Unlike, the largest of the public institutions, where athletic departments are supplemented by billion dollar television contracts made possible by football and in some cases men’s basketball, the sporting infrastructure relies on the commitment of the staff of the college and the athlete to make the necessary sacrifices in making competition a reality. Rarely, does a student-athlete at this level forge a career in the professional ranks, and competing in a team or individual sport is viewed as a privilege. In the tedious relationship between a university fielding a team, or offering no sports, there exists absolutely no room for self-aggrandizing displays of what can be construed as “protests” on game day, as the individual institutions dictate policy. Unfortunately, the invisible line as been crossed, as officials from a college adopted a no tolerance policy in refusing to complete against other schools allowing players the choice to kneel or “protest” during the National Anthem.
The Springfield News Leader reports that the College of the Ozarks, will not be hosting the 2018 NAIA Division II men’s basketball tournament, as school officials decided to take a stand against detractors of the anthem. Apparently, the college took an official position for its sports teams to “walk” away from any event where the opposing team displayed disparaging behavior during the anthem. Current NAIA policy dictates that athletes and coaching staff should stand during for the entirety of our nation’s song, but controversy arose as to the enforcement of the requirement. Both the college and the NAIA made the mutual decision to relocate the tournament to an alternative location, thus ending a long term relationship of the Springfield, Missouri located institution hosting the small college version of March Madness.
With the challenging revenue puzzle faced by the athletic departments of private universities, will the troubling antics of certain “special” professional athletes in honoring the flag, lead directly to the beginning of the end for small college sports, as the debate on policy dissolves relationships and divides the playing field?
Read the Springfield News Leader story here.