Freedom to Express; Just Don't Destroy The Game

Recent days have been abuzz with debate about the Chiefs' Kicker, Harrison Butker. Did he put his foot in his mouth? Did he overstep in speaking outside his football vocation on cultural topics? Should a football player just stick to football stuff? 

To be logically consistent, let’s include the former quarterback from the San Francisco 49ers: Collin Kaepernick.  As it has been established, both Kaepernick and Butker asserted themselves in ways that greatly offended the opposite ends of America's cultural and political landscape.  However, there is a point worth noting: Kaepernick expressed himself both ‘on and off’ the field, whereas Butker expressed himself ‘off’ the field.  And that is the key: Kaepernick regrettably spoke on the field!  

The doctrine of vocation helps in this matter tremendously.  When football players are on the field, they are contracted to ‘play football’, not philosophize, theologize, or promote activism.  More specifically, the American public does not pay money to go to a football game to hear five theses on socio-economic problems in America or be pushed to join a socio-economic movement.  Alas!  Americans go to football games to escape from these things!  Football is entertainment; it is designed to provide an escape from the grind of life.  It provides an escape for Democrats, Republicans, Liberals, Conservatives, Atheists, and Christians to celebrate a small ball thrown in the air while yelling at opposing players whom we do not know but detest.  As one comedian once said, “Entertainment allows us to let the pressure out; it relieves us for a moment from the burdens and seriousness of life.” 

Does this exclude athletes from exerting themselves for a particular cause, movement, theology, or ideology, though?  Certainly not.  They have the freedom and opportunity to promote whatever they want with their resources, influence, and endeavors – just not during the game itself.  

And so, while everyone can agree or disagree with Butker or Kaepernick, we should all agree that football players should stick to football playing while on the football field, while granting them tremendous freedom to pursue whatever passions they want off the field, as fellow citizens in this country. This is not to stifle their voices but to ensure that the game we all love is given the undivided attention it deserves.  

Let Butker and Kaepernick express their thoughts; just don’t let them destroy the essence of the game itself.