The NFL And Kneeling For The Anthem
Beginning as a protest started by then 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in the 2016 session, NFL players kneeling for the anthem has grown into a widespread action within the league. Kaepernick felt the need to protest during the anthem in response to police brutality and inequality against African Americans in the United States. Using his high visibility as a star athlete, Kaepernick wanted to raise awareness of the problems he saw with his country. Though received well by some, there are also those who inherently oppose this protest, citing a number of reasons. This piece will discuss each side of the argument in a respectful way, and will serve to better educate those on the issue, helping you form your own opinions.
Colin Kaepernick said in an interview, “I’m not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color”. Since then, many of his fellow athletes in the NFL have stood with him in agreeable. Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall has told journalists that the message he stands for is, “against social injustice” clarifying that he is, “not against the U.S. military or police or America at all”. Athletes see their kneeling for the anthem as a form of peaceful protest, and want to use their celebrity status as a catalyst to begin conversation on the underlying issues at hand. When people see their favorite athlete taking a knee during the anthem, they will take notice, and begin to question the reasoning behind it. Using their First Amendment right to display their problem with the current state of our country. This is exactly what athletes like Kaepernick and Marshall want, and they are certainly achieving it.
On the other side of the argument, there are those that see athletes who kneel for the anthem as disrespectful towards our nation’s flag and members of the armed forces. The national anthem is a symbol of respect towards those who have served, been injured, or killed in the line of duty. By kneeling, the argument is that you are disrespecting those who have fought for our freedom. Those who disagree with kneeling for the anthem feel like there are much better routes to take in generating a conversation about social injustice in America. Many believe that the anger caused by those who kneel will result in greater division within our country. Families of troops have been killed in the line of duty have expressed their distaste for anthem protesters, calling it a direct disrespect to their loved ones that gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
While both sides bring valid points to the argument, it is imperative to be able to form opinions of your own on the matter. In today’s age, it is now more important than ever to educate yourself on the events of our country. Whichever side you wish to place yourself on, we must always remember to practice respect and acknowledgment of others opinions. No matter how different someone views may differ from you, at the end of the day, we are human beings, and disagreement is inevitable.