What Do Kids Learn from NFL Players?
Dr. Alex McFarland: Whether They Sit, Kneel or Stand, Young Football Fans Always Take Something Away from Their Sports Idols
CHARLOTTE, N.C.—While the on-field NFL protests from players were tempered somewhat this past weekend, the controversy surrounding the national anthem and professional football was still palpable on Sunday. Some entire teams kneeled and some stood, while others were split, with several players raising their fists in the air, CNN reported. And some teams who kneeled were booed by their own fans.
Regardless of these actions, author, religion and culture expert, renowned apologist and national radio host Dr. Alex McFarland (www.AlexMcFarland.com) says young football fans have undoubtedly taken notice.
“I don’t doubt that most if not all NFL players realize that their youngest fans are watching them every minute of every game, both before the clock starts and while they make plays,” McFarland said. “Maybe some want their young fans to see them disrespect the flag and the country—for whatever reason, to prove a point or teach a lesson they think should be learned. But those who stand and show respect, no matter how they might feel about the state of the nation, also teach a valuable lesson.
“Ultimately, it’s up to parents and perhaps coaches to explain to young athletes why their sports idols are sitting, standing, kneeling or raising fists,” added McFarland, author of “The 21 Toughest Questions Your Kids Will Ask About Christianity.” “We must never let a teachable moment slip by, but instead, we should turn these Sunday afternoons into times where we can talk to kids about patriotism, respect and the responsibility of those who are in the spotlight. And I hope these players know the message they are sending to America’s next generation with their actions.”
As an example, a group of 8-year-old football players decided to kneel before their game in late September after learning about the unrest and violence in St. Louis. The coach of the team in Cahokia, Ill., said his players began asking questions about the riots, reported SBNation.com.
McFarland recently debuted his newest book, co-authored with apologist and evangelist Jason Jimenez, called “Stand Strong in Your Faith: Live What You Believe with Confidence and Passion.” The guide provides Christians with insight and encouragement to keep the faith during the toughest times of life. “Stand Strong in Your Faith,” released this summer, is available from AlexMcFarland.com.
In another of his new books, “Abandoned Faith: Why Millennials Are Walking Away and How You Can Lead Them Home,” also co-authored with Jimenez, McFarland explores why millennials are leaving the church, instructs how those who love millennials can bring them back, and offers the hope of Christ to parents, especially as they seek to understand what propels their adult children as they begin to come into their own.