NFL Kneeling: It’s a “Yes” for me


Oakland Raiders teammates kneel during the national anthem before a game against the Washington Redskins at FedExField on September 24, 2017 in Landover, Maryland. Photo Courtesy | Keith Allison

Zach Cottam, Staff Reporter

With the emergence of kneeling as a form of protest in professional sports, plenty of opinions have come along with it. It’s gone so far that even President Donald Trump has tweeted and spoken about the issue. As everything in 2017, kneeling has become a polarizing issue, and has worked its way up to being the most prevalent political issue in the sports world.

This is not a black or white issue, and there are no wrong answers. The same people who say that hate speech is free speech, are saying that it’s constitutional to limit NFL/NBA/MLB/NHL players’ right to express themselves in a non-violent way. No one has been physically or emotionally scarred by the actions of these players; they have not inspired any violence or physical action, yet their protesting has been seen as one of the worst things to ever grace national television.

The argument that those who protest are protesting America or the National Anthem is completely invalid. Multiple athletes have come out and said that they’re protesting the poor treatment of minorities. On top of that, there have been plenty of veterans to come out in support of the protests, including Barstool Sports opinion writer Uncle Chaps, stating that any form of protest needs to be protected under the First Amendment.

Free speech and the right to assemble are both protected under the First Amendment, and as someone who considers themselves to be fairly conservative, I hold the First Amendment as the most important thing that defines the United States. Without it, and without the freedom to express your beliefs, our society will fall into something straight out of a George Orwell novel.

This is not an issue about disrespecting the flag, contrary to what your friends on Facebook might say. The American flag is a symbol of freedom, and practicing one’s right to freedom is something our Founding Fathers would be proud of. The only reason this problem even exists is because a few British colonists were bothered by being oppressed by the existing government and had the guts to stand up for themselves and encourage change. Minorities have been oppressed in this country since the day it began, from ghettos to Jim Crow to the federal government ignoring the blatant racism of police officers towards minorities. No one in their right mind should be angry at these human beings for practicing their inalienable rights.

As citizens of the United States, it is crucial that we protect each other’s’ rights by standing up for each other, and kneeling down for the anthem if it meets your views. Rather than complain about your fellow citizens being “babies,” take a moment to see life from their point of view.

Link: NFL Kneeling: Wrong Place, Wrong Time