Lance Scranton: Two wrongs don’t make a right
September 26, 2017
Is it possible for two conflicting ideas to be simultaneously incorrect? If you paid attention when you were in school, you will remember that part of thinking critically includes being careful of the many fallacies in reasoning. Constructing an argument demands a certain amount of logical thought and consistent reasoning. This week's NFL gameday national anthem protest controversy was a perfect example of the classic either/or fallacy in reasoning, something we teach students to be aware of when they discuss issues with other people.
Many players and support staff decided to protest the president's call for NFL players to be fired if they knelt during the Star Spangled Banner; some did, while others didn't even come out of the locker room. It was a show of player solidarity for what they believe is a president who has positioned himself against their freedom to exercise their opinions and views. Some feel President Trump should continue to work on the issues that got him elected. But, last time I checked, he also has a right to exercise free speech.
Could it be that the president is wrong, but so are the NFL players?
The president's call for players to be fired is contentious, and I think players disrespecting the national anthem is misguided and selfish. But, if you consider what our country stands for, it is well within the rights of both the president and the players to do what they did, because it's what our country has always stood for (pun intended). We engage in civil discourse, protests and demonstrations when we think people or organizations are doing something with which we disagree.
Many people wish that we could keep politics and sports separated, but social media has effectively blurred the sports/culture divide, and I don't think it's going to change anytime soon. With that in mind, we should all brush up on our critical thinking skills, because, if you haven't already, you'll be discussing this for quite some time and being asked about your course of action.
My response is to continue watching the game that has taught me lessons about life — getting knocked down, getting up and continuing to play, even when I disagree with others. Players, owners and even presidents come and go, but the essence of football inherent in the playing of the game is what I choose to watch when football is on TV. But, that's just how I think.
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Lance Scranton is a teacher and coach at Moffat County High School.