Throughout history, authority figures have tried to impose rules and standards on individuals as a guide to what is acceptable and not acceptable to do within society. These rules and standards allow authority figures to avoid a potential protest from employees or citizens and maintain power, but it has, as a byproduct, hindered the evolution of society. As humans fear of being turned away or shunned from society should they not conform to the rules. This effectively strips the individual of the support of society and thus his or her ability to accomplish personal goals in life. The fear is not unfounded as Colin Kaepernick has yet to sign with a team because he refuses to abide by the usual societal standards of a quarterback. NFL teams expect a quarterback to be the face of the franchise and embody the values of their organization. As a result, they are supposed to be the hardest working player on the team which means that they are the first player to enter the building and the last one to leave. A quarterback’s work ethic is supposed to set an example for the rest of the team that to be successful as a player/ team they must do everything it takes to work on their weaknesses as well as finding the weaknesses of the opponent. Furthermore, a quarterback is expected to be a model citizen who will not create an off the field distraction. As a result, the team won’t have to worry about losing a section of the fanbase over something the quarterback said or did.
However, since Colin decided to be an advocate against the oppression of African Americans and minorities by sitting for the national anthem, teams are afraid to sign him in fear of losing a section of the fanbase. This is because the American society has taught us that standing for the national anthem is a way to pay respect for the men who fought for our independence and for the troops who are currently fighting to protect it. As a result, every time a celebrity or athlete refuses to stand they receive immediate backlash because it is portrayed as if they did not care about the sacrifice of those men and troops. When in reality, we should be willing to listen to their opinion with an open mind and see whether our beliefs are flawed or not. But unfortunately, it is unlikely that people would take this approach because they are afraid that society will give them backlash for taking this stance. For example, a person might get a substantial amount of hate comments or get shamed by loved ones. Due to this, most people will keep their opinions to themselves and just follow orders from their superiors which essentially turns them into human robots.
While it may seem like the NFL has different rules from the rest of society that is not the case as the NFL is just an example of the American society. The American Society has taught us that the main way to be completely accepted and revered by society is by getting a degree and finding a job in their respective career path. Due to this, parents are always telling their kids to focus on school because they don’t want their children to become a source of laughter for the society. As a result, kids embrace the daily grind of the traditional education system because they want to avoid being a laughingstock. Under this system, students are required to attend 7 to 8 classes per day, at least 3 of which give students work to do at home every day. According to news.stanford.edu, students in California “average about 3.1 hours of homework each night”. This means that students spend approximately 11 hours a day doing school-related activities. Any free time a student has is used to recharge batteries, not to cultivate his or her passions and what makes you different. Put another way, not only are humans forced to abide by rules and standards to conform to society, but those same norms and criteria do not leave any room and space to find time to be different. The combination of these factors has forced humans to behave more like robots than an individual, waking up and focusing on doing the task they were assigned until it is time to go bed.
After American citizens graduate from the traditional education system, they are usually expected to enter corporate America. A person who is going to corporate America will quickly learn that they must give up the minimal free time that was given to them while in the education system (sleep or mandatory vacation) to be on call at all times. According to NPR.com, they conducted a poll in conjunction with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health which revealed that “about half of Americans who work 50-plus hours a week say they don’t take all or most of the vacation they’ve earned”. Furthermore, thirty percent of the people who participate in the poll say that when they do decide to go on vacation, they still do a significant amount of work. As a result, the only difference between each individual is the name of their respective field.
In conclusion, I ask you guys a serious question, can we be successful as individuals or do people like Colin Kaepernick have to become a human robot to be successful?