Football Players Take a “Sit” for Their Beliefs

Is It Acceptable for NFL Players to Kneel During the Anthem?

An+image+created+by+John+Cacciatore%2C+portraying+the+controversial+topic.+
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Football Players Take a “Sit” for Their Beliefs

An image created by John Cacciatore, portraying the controversial topic.

An image created by John Cacciatore, portraying the controversial topic.

Photo Credit John Cacciatore

An image created by John Cacciatore, portraying the controversial topic.

Photo Credit John Cacciatore

Photo Credit John Cacciatore

An image created by John Cacciatore, portraying the controversial topic.

Jazzarie Dawkins and John Cacciatore

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Recently in the news, there has been much discussion about NFL players kneeling, or even sitting, during the National Anthem. This has stirred a lot of controversy, of course, and those athletes have lost the respect from the some of their  fans.

 

It Is AcceptableJazzarie Dawkins

Initially, NFL players started kneeling during the anthem on August 14, 2016. Among those is the initiator of the movement, Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers. Kaepernick states that he kneels in order to protest police brutality and social injustice, asserting, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” Arguably, some have said that this is disrespectful to the country and those who fight for it. However, Kaepernick is not aiming to disrespect the troops at all. He is simply protesting the injustice of the way minorities are mistreated in America, and has made himself very clear in doing so. Those who feel that Kaepernick and others following in his footsteps intend to disrespect troops deliberately are probably missing the point of the movement.

Kaepernick is peacefully protesting an ideal issue in America. He is not killing five troops every time he kneels during the anthem, nor is he lashing out on his skeptics. Moreover, some Veterans were asked their opinion of the situation and stated that this is not offensive at all. The hashtag #VeteransForKaepernick trended worldwide to show support for the movement, contradicting anyone who claims that football players are dishonoring the troops. There are minorities in the military and once they return home, they’re faced with oppression, regardless of their position in the government, so it’s not like troops are shown respect endlessly. Men overseas fight for peace among cultures and equality for all, and peace and equality is the exact opposite of what we possess here in America.

 

It Is Not AceptableJohn Cacciatore

      The kneeling controversy has split the public; many claim it is disrespectful while others are defending the players’ stance. It is disrespectful. It is a slap in the face to any individual who has defended the flag and what it represents.

The point of the National Anthem before football games begins is to show respect and gratitude, but the exact opposite has been happening. One way to fix this would be to not play the players who sit or kneel; this would give the players a reason to stand and show the respect that is due. Also, TV providers could stop showing games of players who do not stand or not include the players kneeling in the broadcast. Doing this could make the players stand, especially if they realize that their kneeling is no longer gaining attention.

Players like Colin Kaepernick claim that they will not stand for a country that “oppresses black people and people of color.” However, there have been many actions by the government, such as affirmative action policies, which show preference to those who are discriminated against. Others may claim that police shootings of people is an example of oppression. In some cases it is, but many times the citizen in question was not doing as the officer asked, which is for the safety of both. The media makes the situation worse by only showing examples that are controversial, but there are many cases of officers being helpful and people cooperating properly. Tension is created by these news stories, which only complicates the situation. I’m not saying that police shootings are not an issue, but both sides of the story need to be looked at fairly. To bring awareness to these issues, the players could try something else, such as discussing it during press conferences after games. This would be more appropriate, as it allows for their beliefs to be shown on a national level while not being disrespectful or rude.

It is great that NFL players want to induce change in society and help bring awareness to wrongs. However, not standing during the anthem is not the way to do it, and it would be much better if they discussed issues off the field. Their prominence in society combined with social media in today’s world means that almost anyone can, and will, see what is said. They should stand up for both their beliefs and the anthem.