The National Anthem Debate
One of the biggest, most controversial topics in professional sports today: The National Anthem debate. In the NFL or “National Football League” , one player by the name of Colin Kaepernick, decided not to rise for the National Anthem. This was an act of protest for all the injustice that is happening to the African American race. Standing proud and honoring our country has always been a thing of respect and thankfulness toward our country and the people who fight and fought to protect it. So as Colin sits in protest, a huge media rant starts on how “evil and un american” he is.
Activists changed USA for better but have to associate Nat Anthem w/ military that die for ur right to protest. Stand up. Find another way
— Tyler Polumbus (@Tyler_Polumbus) August 27, 2016
Lets just say this is one of the nicer tweets of the millions hating on Colin or hating what he is doing. His decision to sit is widely viewed as a act of disrespect towards the military even though he is standing for black oppression.
This act started an uproar of protests from many of the other players on other teams supporting the same cause. The season started on September eleventh which is also the anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the “Twin Towers” in 2001. Due to this occasion, some of the NFL teams like the Indianapolis Colts have been reported by FOX 59 to, “strongly encourage” that, “everyone at [their] games to stand for our national anthem”. Most of the players listened, however some did not and the teams did not say or do anything about it.
This weekend, during almost every game, there were players protesting before during or after the National Anthem in many different ways. Some players just knelt by themselves or raised a fist in defiance. However some were joined by their team in a team wide protest. The Seattle Seahawks were seen interlocking arms in a line as a solid unit. This also was the case on the sidelines of The Kansas City Chiefs. All these protests are happening during the National Anthem which are all drawing our attention away from the fact that we should be standing and saluting our armed forces for their service.
I get that he and the other players who joined him are trying to express a very important problem, but the way they are doing it is what the people see as wrong. It also is seen as the privilege of being on national TV being used to their advantage. These athletes are at the game to and are paid to play football, they should use this time to show respect and do their job. There is many other nation wide protests going on that they can join but do not bring it to work.
What the National Anthem Means to Veterans
To most of the people that are in or have served for our armed forces, the National Anthem in a solemn and special thing for them. While watching almost any type of game, you are guaranteed to see people from our military or their families tearing up as the National Anthem is playing. A present NFL player and former part of the armed forces, Vincent Jackson tells Tampa Bay Times that he could probably never sit for the National Anthem. When Jackson was asked what the National Anthem and America’s flag represented, he responded by saying it means, “Paying tribute and your respect to just so many people who have made sacrifices. What a great country we do live in.″ So clearly the National Anthem is very important to the military and it is the right and respectful thing to do to stand at attention.
There was an instance last November when Virginia Tech Coach Buzz Williams, after seeing some of his players fidgeting and moving around during the national anthem, brought in wounded and active members of the military. These men and women came in during a practice and stood straight across from the players while the coach explained the importance of the National Anthem.
Laws Behind the Protest
Many will argue however that this act of protest is perfectly legal and protected by the 1st Amendment of our Constitution, and Colin has every right to do this. I agree that there is nothing illegal about his act and black oppression needs to stop, but I have to disagree that this is in any way ethical or professional. If he has something to say about the inequality of present day African Americans, he should not disrespect the United States military in doing so. Members of our Armed Forces fight and die every single day to protect our rights which happen to include his freedom of speech, so he should take his protest elsewhere and show respect while the National Anthem is playing.
The Wage Gap
One of the things that makes a lot of people mad about this whole thing is the fact that he is using his power and popularity to protest. NFL players are some of the most celebrated and impacting people in sports. They already get paid an average of $860,00 dollars a year, but that is relatively low compared to Kaepernick‘s average of $19 million a year. These numbers tower over those of the military. Mike Parker facts that an average military personal earns only $99,000 per year for putting their life on the line each and every day fighting for our country. While Colin gets paid way more to not even start and sit there and dishonor the military. This is also the case of most of the other protesters around the league.
Change is Needed
All in all, I’m not saying that Colin or any of the other player should get punished in any way. However, I feel like the NFL commissioner should try to do a little better job regulating protocol during the playing of the National Anthem. They should strive to still allow players´ their rights to protest, but in some way regulate those protests so that they are respectful and peaceful towards the Armed Forces. Those soldiers deserve huge amounts of gratitude for the sacrifices they make every day. Soldiers serve because they love this country, even if it means delaying their education. Many of these soldiers love to watch football which gives them some relaxation and peace after often extremely dangerous tasks they were asked to complete. I have seen through my veteran grandfather that it is not very pleasing for them as they go to a game or sit to watch it on TV and they see a guy sitting on the bench in protest during their most sacred song.
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