Millikin’s Position On National Anthem Protest Angers Alumni, Others
Our own Millikin University stepped in a big pile of controversy in how it has handled some of its football players, who “took a knee” when the national anthem was being played.
I didn’t hear or know anything about it until I received a “letter to the editor” from Cheryl Gatto of Naperville, a Millikin alum who was at the Millikin/North Central game last month and wrote to express her anger at some of the Millikin players disrespecting the national anthem.
Her letter was printed in the Sept. 28th edition of this newspaper and our sports editor, J. Thomas McNamara, followed up by contacting Millikin University.
Now, at least as this is being written the policy is that the Millikin team will stay in their locker room until after the national anthem is played -- apparently an option agreed to by the players.
• UPDATE: Tuesday evening Millikin University issued the following statement about its position:
"The national anthem is an opportunity to reflect on the liberty and freedom we hold sacred and work to foster. Millikin University will continue to celebrate that tradition at every one of our games. True to our mission to prepare students for democratic citizenship in a global environment, we respect the rights and beliefs of our students, faculty, and community to exercise their civil liberties, in ways consistent with their conscience, while the national anthem is played. With that in mind, when the Big Blue take the field this weekend, we will continue to support the individual expressions of those liberties and freedoms."
Millikin’s initial position angered a lot of people, many who are Millikin alums, who have called or emailed about it from far and near, and Facebook exploded with comments over the weekend, especially when a photo showed one Millikin player standing on the sidelines alone when the anthem was played.
McNamara has some more information about the handling of the football national anthem protest in his “Irish Stew” on page 12 of this week's print edition of the Decatur Tribune.
I believe this “situation”, and how it has been handled, has been mostly negative for the university, not only in Decatur, but across many states where people have read about it.
I agree with Cheryl Gatto’s aforementioned letter that we printed on Sept. 28 -- especially her closing two paragraphs:
She wrote: “When you wear the uniform of this team, you will stand during the playing of the national anthem. The anthem is a prayer. If you choose to exercise your right to protest, that’s fine. Do it after the game, and not while you wear the uniform of this team. If you insist to ‘take a knee’, you may do so, on your own time, not on team time. Feel free to demonstrate on the sidewalk or parking lot outside this stadium. PERIOD!!!
“Maybe if more coaches stood up to the administrations of schools and colleges who allow this insanity, by the time these players get to college sports or the big leagues, they might have learned about honor, strength of character and the sacrifice so many have given for their ‘right’ to protest.”
I couldn’t have written it any better.
• OOPS OR NO OOPS? Two days after our Congressman, Rodney Davis, was in my office last week telling me the reasons that he would vote for Donald Trump for President, he said that he could no longer support the candidate.
The same thing that happened to several other Republican candidates who pulled their support -- that hot mic tape from a decade ago of Trump making obscene comments about women.
That tape has been replayed more times on national television news programming than syndicated episodes of “I Love Lucy”!
That did it for Davis, who has never been overly excited about the candidacy of Trump, but explained to me the bigger picture of why Hillary Clinton should not be elected President.
Appearing on WSOY’s Byers & Co. a few days after the Trump tape surfaced. Davis attempted to defend his change of heart about Trump, but the reaction to his decision did not play well with a lot of Byers’ listeners and. quite frankly, with most of the people I’ve talked with during the past week.
Will the actions of Davis in reaction to Trump’s “on the bus comments” hurt his campaign for re-election against Democrat Mark Wicklund?
Probably not, but who knows?
This has been the strangest, most unpredictable election year that I can ever remember -- and I remember a lot of them.
The bar of standards and good taste has been set so low in the presidential campaign that I am no longer surprised by anything that suddenly pops up about either candidate for president.
• STATE REP. Sue Scherer (D), who represents a lot of our community in Springfield, stopped by to talk about what’s going on in our state capitol -- something she does frequently.
Scherer has no opponent in the Nov. 8th election and told me the lack of an opponent has given her the opportunity to concentrate more on doing her job for the people of the district.
She also told me that she has “learned so much” about state government since she won her first term and it has made her a more effective member of the state legislature.
Scherer said that she has also learned that “compromise” is necessary to get some things done for the district, where both sides give a little for the overall good of the people.
“You need to take what you can get,” she told me, instead of ending up with nothing.
Funding for Richland Community College and Brush College was restored and she is going to continue to work on funding for other district projects.
When I asked if she enjoys working as a state representative, she replied, “I’m enjoying it more now than ever, because I understand a lot more about the job and how I can help the people of my district.”
• CHRIS IS 50! Oct. 20th is the 50th birthday of Decatur Park Board Commissioner and city council candidate Chris Riley.
It doesn’t seem possible.
If you see Chris at ADM, or anywhere else Thursday, wish him a happy birthday, but don’t overdo it -- a man who is advancing in years can’t take too much excitement! (smile)
It seems like only yesterday that Chris and our son, Craig, were best friends when they were kids and we went to ball games together and Chris was at our home a lot.
Now, he is “nifty 50”. Craig turned 50 last month!
I guess that makes me “over 50” (I married young.)
Chris was always a great kid and is still a great guy in his “older age”.
Listen to the “City Hall Insider” hour with Paul Osborne on Byers & Co. at 7:00 every Thursday morning over NEWS/TALK 1340 WSOY or visit our website at decaturtribune.net and find us on Facebook.
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