NFL Kneeling: Wrong Place, Wrong Time


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

BJ Laudermilk, Sports Editor

The issue of kneeling during the national anthem is not one that should be discounted as these athletes do have the right to protest, but they need to do so before or after the national anthem, not during it.

This has never been about athletes and their right to protest racial inequality and police brutality that goes on in society in this day and age. Nobody is trying to tell them they don’t have that right, they do as given to them in the first amendment of the Bill of Rights. The issue is that kneeling during the national anthem is disrespectful to the flag and to the people that have fought for their right to protest.

Without the men and women that fight for all of our freedom, athletes would not have the opportunities they have in this country to not only play a sport, but to stage their protests on a national and global scale as they do. The national anthem and the flag are symbols of this country and how it had to fight for rights that should not be taken for granted. Without those rights, a demonstration like kneeling in protest of the flag or during the anthem could get someone killed in a different country.

Even the NFL player that was one of the first to start protesting, Colin Kaepernick, has said that if he was able to return to the league and begin playing football with a team this season, he would not protest during the national anthem. No matter how you feel about Kaepernick as a player or a protester, you have to think that if you are protesting something, you would not give up your beliefs in order to get a job or play a sport, no matter how much you love it. It would be a better situation for the country and for the NFL as a whole to come together, should Kaepernick return to game action this season, if he took a knee before the anthem in solidarity for his cause, and then stood to face the flag during the anthem. That would help to cool the tensions in this country and could lead to finally starting a dialogue towards changing some of the issues that are being protested.

Without Kaepernick in the NFL this season, the league has seen an increase in players kneeling during the anthem, especially during week three of the season in response to comments made about this issue made by President Trump. The issue has taken a turn from protesting injustices against African-Americans in this country to protesting the political climate and the man in charge of the country. No matter where you fall on the political scale, the issue of kneeling during the anthem will not change who resides in the Oval Office, it will be disrespectful to the men and women who serve under him, and the best way to create a change is to use another right guaranteed by the Constitution, the right to vote, to make the best-informed decision and vote in someone new.

Link: NFL Kneeling: It’s a “Yes” for me