EDITORIAL – Hey Golden Tate: How You Can Stand Up without Kneeling Down

NOTE: The views expressed in this EDITORIAL do not necessarily reflect the views of Detroit Sports Nation or a majority of its writers and should not be misconstrued as such. The views contained within are the views of the author and the author alone.


On Wednesday, Lions wideout Golden Tate (who on top of being the Lions top receiver, is also a really good guy) was asked about the calls for social awareness that are becoming more prevalent in the NFL. Tate feels motivated to also do something, but recognizes that the form of protest Colin Kaepernick, Doug Baldwin, and others have chosen during our national anthem has inadvertently detracted from the discussion (and in Kaepernick’s case, his employability). Instead of focusing on why they are kneeling, the conversation has become whether that specific form of peaceful protest denigrates what the flag and anthem stand for.

Here is what Tate had to say in Kyle Meinke’s piece on MLive:

I haven’t thought about how I want to do it yet,” he said. “I want to definitely support what’s right for humanity, I just haven’t figured out what’s the appropriate way to do it. The way that’s going to get my point across, and not be misinterpreted.

I want to talk with my support system, my family, my agency, and see what I can do. But I’m definitely all for it, and hopefully, if I choose to stand up for what I believe in, which is humanity and what’s right, hopefully I’m not blackballed out of this league.

Thankfully, I have the perfect solution for Tate, and any other NFL players that want to protest:

Disrupt the game, without disrupting the game.

Allow me to explain. My idea is for Tate, his teammates, and any interested players from the opposing team to wait until the whistle is blown for the opening kickoff, then walk out onto the field and raise their fists in the air like Tommie Smith and John Carlos famously did at the 1968 Olympics. If the players think the raised fist feels a bit too “militant,” perhaps this is they could link hands in solidarity instead. Then they all stand there for five seconds, and leave the field.

This would accomplish a few things:

  • Everyone that tuned in for the game would see it. The cameras could not turn away because they must be ready for the kickoff. It would also be covered after the fact on sportscasts, social media, and sports websites (say, perhaps, Detroit Sports Nation).
  • The play will not have started yet, so it isn’t actually disrupting the game. It would simply delay the start for less than a minute.
  • It would not have anything to do with the National Anthem, so no one could derail the discussion by focusing on whether or not it disrespects our country. They would be forced to deal with the actual issues.
  • Any player that wants to support the cause, regardless of ethnicity, creed or color, could be part of this without someone calling them un-American.

There are some logistics that would have to be worked out. For instance, the kicker needs to know it is happening so he doesn’t kick the ball. The referees should also be warned, because they will need to throw flags, and surprising them with it will only lead to confusion and a longer delay. The coaches on both teams need to be informed in advance as well, so they can be prepared to decline those penalties so it does not alter the game even by five yards.

After the players leave the field, the whistle blows again, and the ball is kicked off. Not a second of game time would be lost, but the protest could not be ignored.

The best part is, players could do this before every NFL game this season. This is a way to let their opinions be known, keep the issue from being ignored, but not hurt their reputations or the NFL’s bottom line.

Somebody get Golden Tate on the phone…or at least send him this article.

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Written by Rob Otto

Rob Otto is a former broadcaster on Sportsradio 1130 WDFN, WWJ Newsradio 950, 97.1 The Ticket, Fox Sports Detroit and Comcast SportsNet. He is a lifelong Michigander, a graduate of Central Michigan University, and has an opinion on everything.

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