The Cowboys set the example.
We need to give credit to America’s Team for showing the rest of the NFL a path forward.
Last night, just before their Monday Night Football game against the Arizona Cardinals, the Dallas Cowboys walked out to center field, knelt in prayer, then stood up and respectfully listened to the national anthem.
What the Dallas Cowboys did last night was a microcosm for the entire country. They came together as a team, stood up for what they believed in, included prayer, and did it all respectfully. You can disagree with what they’re protesting, but you can’t say that what they did was in any way disrespectful.
This is the type of leadership we need for the entire country. Can you think of any other political activism, in this day and age, that has ended with non-violence and with both sides feeling respected? It just doesn’t happen anymore.
We desperately needed something positive, and I guess I’m not too surprised that it came out of professional sports. Historically our professional athletes have transcended their professions. In 1936 Jesse Owens won four gold medals, showing the “Master Race” they weren't that superior after all. In 1980 Herb Brooks and the US Hockey team broke the myth of Soviet invincibility.
In 2017, the Dallas Cowboys showed us that respecting each other is possible. They provided a path forward for the NFL, and an example for the entire country.
Alejandro Villanueva has the perspective too many Americans are missing.
“The Giant.” That’s what the locals in Afghanistan called him.
His platoon called him “Lieutenant V.” Sometimes just “V.”
One night in August 2011, the Taliban ambushed his platoon. A furious firefight broke out. Three American soldiers were hit immediately in the bullet spray. Lieutenant V – “the Giant” – took the wounded men to a nearby school, carrying one of them on his back. A helicopter eventually rescued them.
V was awarded the Bronze Star for valor, but he’d rather not have it, because one of the three wounded men died that night – Private Jesse Dietrich. V still hasn’t come to grips with the tragedy.
Yet, there would be two more tours in Afghanistan for V, this time as an Army Ranger.
V has an unusual background. He was born in Mississippi to Spanish parents. His dad was a Spanish naval officer. Later, his dad worked at NATO in Belgium where V played football for the first time at an American high school. He was smart, athletic and really big.
He made the football team at West Point as a walk-on. By his senior year, he was team captain.
Then came Afghanistan. The Bronze Star. Falling in love and marrying Madelyn.
Though he hadn’t played football in five years, he tried out for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2014. He made the team but was cut before the season started. Then he made the Pittsburgh Steelers practice squad. Halfway through the next season, he earned a starting spot. This summer, the Steelers gave him a four-year, $24 million contract extension.
Last Sunday, 29-year-old, 6-foot-8, 320-pound offensive lineman, “V the giant” Alejandro Villanueva, was the only Pittsburgh Steelers player to step out of the tunnel for the national anthem. He stood with his hand over his heart, and by doing so, stepped into the hearts of millions of Americans disgusted by the childish activism of so many NFL players.
He already regrets the attention. He apologized, saying he made his team and coach look bad. But something drew Villanueva to step out for the anthem, something most of us will never fully understand because our lives haven’t been at stake for our country.
As he stood for the anthem, Villanueva undoubtedly thought back to Afghanistan and the loss of Private Dietrich. Villanueva has perspective, an attribute that is sorely missing from too much of American life.
Time for a quick quiz.
Is 60,000 greater than, less than, or equal to 100?
If you're in the media, you probably just answered "equal to."
That's because the media really wants us to believe that 60,000 emails from Hillary Clinton's private server, over half of which were deleted, are the same thing as the less than 100 emails found in the private email address of Jared Kushner.
You might still think to yourself, "did Jared miss the whole email scandal during the election? Why is he using a private email address?" Fair question, but perspective is important.
First of all, no one is even accusing Kushner of emailing classified documents. He didn't call up some IT professional to set up a private server, he just used a family domain account. And reportedly, the emails were nothing but a bunch of links to news stories, mostly sent to him by other people, that he then forwarded to his government address to fulfill federal record-keeping laws.
This information hasn't been verified yet, and they may still find something real that Kushner did wrong.
But, at this point, we don't even have weird emails about grandma yoga, John Podesta wearing socks to bed, or creepy codes about child trafficking rings held in the non-existent basement of pizza restaurants. So far, there's nothing here at all. Which makes the equation that much easier to solve.
60,000 is not even close to equal to 100. The math couldn't be more simple. Unless, of course, you're in the media.