A Teacher ‘Thanks’ the Indiana Fever

As a high school history teacher, I am asked every year by our administration to address the student body on days of remembrance like September 11th and Veterans’ Day. The school is resolute that my remarks focus not just on the history of those days, but rather speak to ways young people today can actively honor the legacy of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

It’s one thing to merely remember the courageous sacrifices made by those charging the cockpit with a drink cart on United Flight 93, or by those Marines pushing the flag into place atop Mount Suribachi in the South Pacific. But it’s another to actively honor those heroes.

I recently challenged students at my school: “Stop the veteran walking through Walmart and say thank you. At church, greet those who serve and tell them you are praying for them. Remember they are all around you at ball games, so shut your mouths, take off your hats and stand respectfully during the national anthem. Follow their example and choose humility, putting the needs of others ahead of your own selfish desires and comforts. When we say the Pledge of Allegiance every morning, remember that flag on the wall is more than a piece of cloth. Remember it is a visual representation of that soldier and their sacrifice. You may not be able to go back in time and say a verbal thank you to those who died storming the beaches of Normandy or storming up stairwells of the World Trade Center. But by the respect you give to the flag they served under, the flag that draped their caskets, the flag that was folded and presented to their hurting families, it’s your way of giving them the gratitude they earned and the dignity they deserve.”

So let me take this time to offer a hearty thank you to the Indiana Fever players and organization for undermining everything I try to do in the classroom.

Spare me the mindless drivel about how the Fever were “embodying the spirit of that flag” in their protest. Don’t lecture about how the First Amendment protects their right to be disrespectful. No one is arguing that point. We are arguing that by choosing this particular form of protest it is solving no problem, but adding to one; it is resolving no conflict, but fueling one; it is relieving no divide, but deepening one.

Leftist sports writers will puff up to defend them by saying silly things like how courageous these players are for using their platform to “create conversation.” Indianapolis sportswriter Bob Kravitz dramatically gushed, “United they stand. Or sit. Or kneel. You don’t have to like it. But you have to talk about it. Which is, in the end, the entire point.”

Wait, what? The entire point of them kneeling during the anthem is to get us all talking about them kneeling during the anthem? What good is that? What does it accomplish? Nothing, of course, other than creating or furthering a racial divide, and sadly lending undeserved legitimacy to the lawlessness and social anarchy so closely tied to the Black Lives Matter movement.

To the degree Kravitz is right, he accidentally exposes the annoying truth about these spectacles. Ultimately they are self-serving attempts by people desperate to be known for something more meaningful than putting balls into baskets or end zones. I can’t and won’t bemoan any athlete’s desire to use their platform to do good. But I can and will criticize their efforts when it does the exact opposite.

If the Indiana Fever players are truly interested in racial reconciliation then they should understand their conduct is as unproductive as those on the opposite side of the divide shouting “All Lives Matter.” Offending people is not typically an effective strategy for engaging a problem, whether it is your right to do so or not.

Instead of taking a knee, how about taking the time to thoughtfully lay out your solutions? I may not agree with your call for reparations, racial quotas for police forces, more gun control, or the expansion of hate crimes laws. And you may not agree with my call for school choice scholarships in the inner cities, censure for grievance mongering, the end of no fault divorce, or teaching the Biblical view of race in schools. But at least we’ll be talking about something meaningful.

Kneeling for the anthem promotes rebellion, disrespect, resentment and division. If you’re doing it or applauding it, you’re part of the problem you pretend to protest.

Peter Heck is a speaker, author and teacher. Follow him @peterheck, email peter@peterheck.com or visit www.peterheck.com.

As a high school history teacher, I am asked every year by our administration to address the student body on days of remembrance like September 11th and Veterans’ Day. The school is resolute that my remarks focus not just on the history of those days, but rather speak to ways young people today can actively honor the legacy of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

It’s one thing to merely remember the courageous sacrifices made by those charging the cockpit with a drink cart on United Flight 93, or by those Marines pushing the flag into place atop Mount Suribachi in the South Pacific. But it’s another to actively honor those heroes.

I recently challenged students at my school: “Stop the veteran walking through Walmart and say thank you. At church, greet those who serve and tell them you are praying for them. Remember they are all around you at ball games, so shut your mouths, take off your hats and stand respectfully during the national anthem. Follow their example and choose humility, putting the needs of others ahead of your own selfish desires and comforts. When we say the Pledge of Allegiance every morning, remember that flag on the wall is more than a piece of cloth. Remember it is a visual representation of that soldier and their sacrifice. You may not be able to go back in time and say a verbal thank you to those who died storming the beaches of Normandy or storming up stairwells of the World Trade Center. But by the respect you give to the flag they served under, the flag that draped their caskets, the flag that was folded and presented to their hurting families, it’s your way of giving them the gratitude they earned and the dignity they deserve.”

So let me take this time to offer a hearty thank you to the Indiana Fever players and organization for undermining everything I try to do in the classroom.

Spare me the mindless drivel about how the Fever were “embodying the spirit of that flag” in their protest. Don’t lecture about how the First Amendment protects their right to be disrespectful. No one is arguing that point. We are arguing that by choosing this particular form of protest it is solving no problem, but adding to one; it is resolving no conflict, but fueling one; it is relieving no divide, but deepening one.

Leftist sports writers will puff up to defend them by saying silly things like how courageous these players are for using their platform to “create conversation.” Indianapolis sportswriter Bob Kravitz dramatically gushed, “United they stand. Or sit. Or kneel. You don’t have to like it. But you have to talk about it. Which is, in the end, the entire point.”

Wait, what? The entire point of them kneeling during the anthem is to get us all talking about them kneeling during the anthem? What good is that? What does it accomplish? Nothing, of course, other than creating or furthering a racial divide, and sadly lending undeserved legitimacy to the lawlessness and social anarchy so closely tied to the Black Lives Matter movement.

To the degree Kravitz is right, he accidentally exposes the annoying truth about these spectacles. Ultimately they are self-serving attempts by people desperate to be known for something more meaningful than putting balls into baskets or end zones. I can’t and won’t bemoan any athlete’s desire to use their platform to do good. But I can and will criticize their efforts when it does the exact opposite.

If the Indiana Fever players are truly interested in racial reconciliation then they should understand their conduct is as unproductive as those on the opposite side of the divide shouting “All Lives Matter.” Offending people is not typically an effective strategy for engaging a problem, whether it is your right to do so or not.

Instead of taking a knee, how about taking the time to thoughtfully lay out your solutions? I may not agree with your call for reparations, racial quotas for police forces, more gun control, or the expansion of hate crimes laws. And you may not agree with my call for school choice scholarships in the inner cities, censure for grievance mongering, the end of no fault divorce, or teaching the Biblical view of race in schools. But at least we’ll be talking about something meaningful.

Kneeling for the anthem promotes rebellion, disrespect, resentment and division. If you’re doing it or applauding it, you’re part of the problem you pretend to protest.

Peter Heck is a speaker, author and teacher. Follow him @peterheck, email peter@peterheck.com or visit www.peterheck.com.