Just when you thought using sports references in the workplace was bad, the NFL was thrown right into our living rooms, timelines, and water coolers thanks to the excessive attention brought to it by the POTUS. There are people boycotting and protesting the NFL for their discriminatory hiring practices of a back-up QB. Others are protesting and boycotting the NFL because the president said so and they don’t agree with kneeling players and the perceived disrespect for the flag. Everybody has an opinion. I do. And I can’t wait for Andrew Luck to get back on the field for the Indianapolis Colts.
What’s lost in the whole subject is the reason Colin Kaepernick took a knee in the first place. He was bringing attention to the injustices and mistreatment of African-Americans in the United States. He was raising awareness to a problem that has been around since our nation was born. He is trying to drive conversation and perspective with all sides in the hopes that one may see a situation from another person’s point of view. So he took a knee.
As HR professionals, we need to stand up for those taking a knee. When we see an issue like the gender wage gap in our organization, we need to stand up provide a solution. When we see an imbalance of diversity in our leadership ranks, we need to stand up and fix our hiring practices. We need to stand up to the harassment and bullying that continues to exist in our workplaces and create an environment where all can show up as their best selves.
We personally may not agree with every social issue and we are just as free to have an opinion as Larry in Accounting. But we are advocates for our employees and that means standing up for those who are taking a knee. Above all else, that’s our job.