On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS September 5, 2016 #609 Up next…The “Kaper Kaper !”
After further review…The National Football League is currently promoting the slogan, “Football Is Family.” This is of significance to this writer since the NFL has fulfilled that role to both me and my personal family for over one-half century – 56 years to be more precise. When I was invited to join the NFL’s officiating family in 1960, I felt an immediate camaraderie. During my 31 years as an active on-field official, the NFL provided me a job (concurrent with my career as an educator) that fostered great pride and helped me put four kids through higher education.
The NFL officiating family comprises crews whose lives are woven tightly together from July through January each season. The seven members of each crew know each other’s personal families and develop their own group culture to ensure that all members are working together to produce the best quality of officiating possible. Likewise, every NFL T*E*A*M (Together Everyone Accomplishes More) develops its own culture adopting the shared philosophy that ensures they put forth their best performance.
Which brings us to the “Kaper Kaper” where one member of a T*E*A*M decides that the culture or tradition of his team is against his personal beliefs. In this case it has led to instances of not standing during the playing of the National Anthem, because he feels that showing pride “in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color” would be “selfish.” In particular, he decries law enforcement. Does one member of a team have the right to such symbolic behavior? Of course he does; if, indeed, the very constitution of this country guarantees freedom of speech. However, when one puts his own beliefs ahead of his team, then team chemistry is affected.
Having had the privilege of playing, coaching and officiating in team sports for my entire life, it has always been my belief that team, family, and officiating crew culture must take precedence over personal issues. Does this mean one must devalue or forego issues of integrity? Of course not! It does mean, however, accepting the culture of a team and if not, disengaging oneself from that team. It occurs to me that if one is unwilling to adapt to, or is unwilling to change, or is unable to change one’s teams culture, then separation from that team must happen for the future success of both the individual and the team.
Will you log-in your beliefs about individual rights vs team culture?
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