What’s more American than watching your favorite NFL team playing on TV or at the stadium on a nice, crisp fall day? I’m going to go with nothing. But on August 26, 2016, Colin Kaepernick decided he was going to bring his political standpoint into the game by kneeling during the National Anthem to protest racial injustice and police brutality in the United States. Since then, there have been countless professional football players, high school athletes, and professional athletes in other sports that have refused to stand for the National Anthem.
It really all started when Colin Kaepernick explained his reasoning for taking a knee, “I’m not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color… To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
Keep in mind, Kaepernick isn’t playing in the NFL as of this season. Why? Because no team wants to take him on because he’s a political nightmare, and he’s caused a lot of heat for this decision.
Brandon Marshall, linebacker for the Denver Broncos, came out later down the road stating his reasoning; “the message is I’m against social injustice… I’m not against the military or police or America at all.”
This is where things start not making sense and start getting a little too ridiculous. Why? Because our National Anthem pays respect to the people who have risked their lives, been injured, or died defending the United States.
If you think about it, it’s honestly an oxymoron that you’re sitting down/kneeling, disrespecting the exact flag that has given you the freedom to speak out. And furthermore than that, not standing for the National Anthem is an ineffective and counterproductive way to promote a cause.
They should be honoring the American Constitution and the American system, not disrespecting it. If they want to protest incidents of police shootings and brutality, that’s fine, but they can wear armbands naming the victims or wear a patch on their jerseys, or even locking arms like some teammates have been doing together. That would be more specific to their cause and it wouldn’t disrespect our country, nor would it piss off NFL fans.
It screams volumes that when the Pittsburgh Steelers team decided they were going to stay in the locker room rather than come onto the field for the National Anthem, Alejandro Villanueva, former captain in the Army and an ex-Ranger who did three tours in Afghanistan, was the only one from the team who came out and stood hand over heart proudly. He understands what the National Anthem stands for, what our country stands for. Him standing alone, proud to be an American and military vet, illustrates the meaning of “the home of the brave.”
It’s hard to stand for something, if you’re the one who’s kneeling.
Being an American means having the freedom to speak out on matters that concern each and every one of us. But in today’s world, there is simply no excuse for disrespecting our country, our National Anthem, or the sacrifices made by so many brave veterans. They want an explanation for why so many of their fans are booing the players who protest and why they refuse to watch the NFL games on TV. Because there are so many better ways to protest than by taking a knee during a time that has been universally known as showing respect.
Featured Image via sportingnews.