In my series about Politics mixed with either sports or theater, I am compelled to comment on the events of two weeks ago in the NFL. President Trump called out NFL players who kneeled during the national anthem and criticized the NFL. Mass protests broke out across the league. The reason athletes began to sit for the national anthem can be traced back to Colin Kaepernick a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers last year. Kaepernick sat during the national anthem in order to protest racial inequality in the United States. It sent tremors through the NFL. Kaepernick played out the season and began to kneel when veterans told him it would be more respectful that way and when the season ended, he left the team. This year he was not signed by any other team.
Fans interpreted the protest as not a protest against racial inequality, but of the flag, the national anthem and an offense to the veterans who fought to protect that flag. That’s what brought President Trump to make his comments a couple weeks ago. Then more players knelt in response to President Trump attacking the league. The National Football League has been on edge since.
That is essentially what happened and here is my response. To the players— You had ample opportunities to Kneel before that weekend and a lot of you didn’t. Some did. When Michael Bennett, a defenseman for the Seattle Seahawks was wrongfully held at gunpoint in Las Vegas for being black in the wrong neighborhood, the players should have said and done something. A majority didn’t until a couple weeks later when Trump attacked them all. Bennett was always involved in kneeling during the anthem and fighting the fight.
As for President Trump, congratulations he made another major issue all about him! In another act of selfishness and he made this issue about Him Vs Them and stole the original meaning from the protest.
To the fans who are disgusted by these protests and believe it is a disgrace to our veterans. Our veterans have fought for these men’s rights to stand and kneel during the national anthem. It’s not about disrespecting the flag and it never will be. It’s about young black men disrespecting America to the naysayers.. It would’ve been great if people were offended when young black men would return from fighting overseas to be dragged out of their homes and lynched just for being black. Soldier’s Fight for everyone’s freedoms and no one owns the flag. It is for all Americans.
The argument of those who oppose the protest neatly shifts the focus of the discussion and their assumptions are nonsense. This is and will always be about race and calling people’s attention to some o the terrible inequalities that exist. They are scapegoating young football players because they don’t want to face that there is still racial inequality in this country.
They argue these men have a chance to make millions so they don’t get to have a say. What these young men make has no relevance to the discussion. Yet millions of African-Americans are still held down in this country by lack of opportunity are still being mistreated by those policeman who hold racist views. This never had anything to do with the Vets until it was made to do about the Vets and not necessarily by the vets. It was always about racial inequality and that’s what made people uncomfortable. It is a shame we still live in a society where we can’t acknowledge these peaceful protests as helpful and where we cannot avoid making kneejerk responses when it comes to the flag and the anthem.
As for African-American athletes like Kaepernick and Bennett and the others who continue to kneel, Keep Kneeling. Or Don’t. Do whatever you feel is necessary for you and your cause.
Both of these young football players have donated millions of dollars and hours of their time to help the causes they are protesting. They are both good young men of character fighting for what they believe is right and that is really the American Way. They are fighting the good fight. It’s time for us as a society to listen and even aid their cause. We can’t stand complicit in allowing racism like this continue in front of our eyes.