NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem

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    You’ve all heard about the protests by NFL players during the anthem. Are their actions justified social protests or disrespectful acts by rich athletes?

    NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem

    Unless you live in a cave you’ve heard and seen the controversy over NFL players kneeling during the national anthem prior to games. Like most topics these days the country is very divided over whether or not these protests are appropriate. You either think these players are heroes for standing up for their beliefs or think they are jerks for disrespecting the flag, our military and the country. Coming from a family of veterans where my grandpa served in WWII and father served in Vietnam I have strong feelings as well.

    First off I want to squash the claim that this is a free speech issue. It’s not. The Constitution provides protection for your speech from government intervention. Your employer is still allowed to fire you if you say something that they determine to be detrimental to their business. If a person is standing on the street corner saying they love the KKK the government cannot stop him. If that same person is espousing those same views at their place of employment their boss can fire them. That’s an important distinction in this circumstance.

    Now that we have that out of the way, I find that NFL players kneeling during the anthem is disrespectful. American men and women have given their lives in defense of the flag, the anthem and the ideals that they represent. To say that they aren’t protesting the flag or America is intellectually dishonest. The flag and the anthem represent America. Standing at attention during the anthem is a societal norm. So kneeling in protest during the anthem is a protest of America. If the players were to spit on the flag instead of kneeling would anyone believe that the protest wasn’t directed at America? Protesting the flag during the anthem cannot be separated from protesting America. Colin Kapernick’s original reason for sitting during the anthem was as follows, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” So now to say they aren’t protesting the flag or America is disingenuous.

    There are plenty of other opportunities for players to protest. They could do it in the locker room after the game in front of a gaggle of reporters. They could do it before the game or they could do it in the communities where their perceived injustices are occurring. Instead of answering the same old clichéd questions from sports reporters players could take that time to talk about issues that matter to them. But they don’t, they disrespect the country that has given them the opportunity to be rich, privileged celebrities instead of trying to make actual change.

    Now I want to be clear, I think these players have every right to protest in any legal way that they see fit. Whether you agree with the merits of the protest or not it, if peaceful, is the right of the individual and our Constitution allows them that right. But that same Constitution gives me the right to express my disagreement with their actions. It would be hypocritical to say it’s ok for a player to protest but then say another person can’t express their feelings about that player. Ultimately the NFL is a business. If the business is losing money due to employee behavior they will have to change what they’re doing. NFL ratings are down 11% this year and some people attribute that decline to the protests. If ratings continue to decline you better bet that the owners will step in to get the focus back on football and away from protests. People love sports and use it as an escape from the junk of life. They just want to watch some football.
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  3. by   toomuchbaloney
    So you agree with their right to protest peacefully and legally, in any way they prefer, just not that way.

    Got it.
  4. by   BCgradnurse
    Honestly, I think it's much ado about nothing, thanks to the actions of the Orange Menace who used this issue to distract from his own failings. I support the players in their protest. You (and I mean the global you) claimed that the BLM protests were too violent. Now people are whining about a peaceful protest. It got your attention, didn't it? And no lives were lost, no property was damaged, and no one was injured. But that's not good enough, is it?

    Yes, I'm pretty pissed off about the hypocrisy of this country. The 1st amendment is not ok when it makes some people uncomfortable, but the 2nd amendment is sacred and should be revered. I call male cow excretement.
  5. by   chare
    Deleted.
  6. by   Lil Nel
    You know what is disrespectful? The daily racism faced by many minorities in this country. That is truly disrespectful.

    The players are in NO WAY disrespecting the military, etc. I feel sorry for folks whose patriotism is wrapped up in a piece of cloth. It is unfortunate that some people don't know the true meaning of love of country.

    If you love your country, do something to stop senseless gun violence that kills thousands of American every year, including children.

    If you love your country, do something about the wink, wink, nod, nod that the Bum gives to racists in this country.

    Again, I will kneel with the NFL players, but I will NEVER stand with Donald Trump.
  7. by   toomuchbaloney
    Patriotism isn't wrapped up in a flag, jingoism is.
  8. by   nursej22
    I think you are wrong on at least 2 points:

    Kapernick changed from sitting during the anthem, to kneeling after speaking with a military veteran, in order to show respect for their service. So, no, when players kneel, they are not dishonoring the military, including your grandfather and father. If you feeling insulted, thats on you, not the players. And for pete's sake, they usually don't even televise the anthem. I'v seen baseball players spit and adjust their cups when the anthem was playing, and nobody jumped on them for being disrespectful.

    NFL viewership is down, but for several reasons: more people are streaming games instead of watching broadcast TV; gambling on fantasy football has been squashed; people are put off by the stories of chronic traumatic brain injury (there is a decrease in children participating in football); changes in rules to decrease injuries may the game "less exciting"; restrictions on celebrations by players; poor officiating; and a phenomenon called cord-cutting, that is younger people just aren't watching as much TV as baby boomers.

    This whole faux outrage is because white men are incensed that uppity n*******s refuse to obey the massa',. Players are criticized for not being aren't more grateful, as if just anybody could go out there and perform the way they do, risking career ending injury every week. Yeah, they may be overpaid, but if some one is going to offer it, why should they turn it down. And many, if not most, have foundations that do good works. Kapernick has donated more of his own money to charity that the Orange Bum.

    If the NFL is losing money, its their own fault for overextending themselves by signing big contracts with networks and overrated players, like Johny Football.
  9. by   elkpark
    I don't care about pro football one way or the other, but I support the players' protests. Lord knows, African Americans in this country have plenty to protest about! And kneeling is not being disrespectful; it is a respectful protest. I saw a photo on the news over the weekend of the staff of one team (I don't even recall which team it was) circling one of the players during the anthem and physically blocking the view so that people in the stands couldn't see he was slouching on the bench and smirking during the national anthem (from the angle of the photo, you could see that that is what he was doing). That is disrespectful. Kneeling instead of standing isn't.

    My personal view is that the carrying on by That Creep Trump and other conservatives about how this is "disrespectful" to the flag and military is just a red herring, an attempt to distract people from the real issues at hand, police violence toward African-Americans and the general, hateful inequality in our society.
  10. by   ElvishDNP
    I haven't said the pledge of allegiance for years (Anabaptist/Mennonite here) and would gladly take a knee beside these guys.

    The entire point of protest is to make people uncomfortable. If it disturbs you to see NFL players peacefully taking a knee and hurting no one, then work to reform police brutality that kills unarmed black men daily. If it bothers you to see on TV, freaking change the channel or don't watch. And reflect on how uncomfortable it is for ethnic minorities to be reminded every day of their lives that people view them/their lives/their health/their family as less important because you aren't white. It's PD racist to expect black men to play a sport for your entertainment (slave owners did that too, you know) and then get mad when they don't 'stay in their place.'
  11. by   HappyMom5
    Quote from toomuchbaloney
    So you agree with their right to protest peacefully and legally, in any way they prefer, just not that way.

    Got it.
    Like the OP, I agree with their right to protest. I also am humbly grateful to our veterans and the sacrifices made by current and past generations to protect our right to protest and all the liberties we enjoy as Americans. I appreciate that I have this forum and other venues to freely express my opinion in this country. I thank God that I have this full realization. I fully realize that many sacrifices were made so that I can now enjoy these freedoms. Because of this realization, I would NEVER disrespect any symbol of my freedom and pray that those involved in these protests will come to the same realization, and find other ways to protest.
  12. by   BCgradnurse
    Quote from HappyMom5
    Like the OP, I agree with their right to protest. I also am humbly grateful to our veterans and the sacrifices made by current and past generations to protect our right to protest and all the liberties we enjoy as Americans. I appreciate that I have this forum and other venues to freely express my opinion in this country. I thank God that I have this full realization. I fully realize that many sacrifices were made so that I can now enjoy these freedoms. Because of this realization, I would NEVER disrespect any symbol of my freedom and pray that those involved in these protests will come to the same realization, and find other ways to protest.
    I respect your views and beliefs. Something you said stood out to me. You said you would never disprespect any SYMBOL of your freedom. Cool. The flag and the anthem are just symbols. Real freedom is expressed and honored when ALL people have the same freedoms. In my opinion, we disrespect our freedom and those who fought for it when we deny these freedoms to other Americans because of their race, religion, or sexual orientation. Symbols don't matter; people do.
  13. by   toomuchbaloney
    Taking a knee during the anthem is not being disrespectful to the anthem, or the flag, or the military. That is the narrative of the POTUS who prefers to change the focus from the racist targeting of blacks within our criminal justice justice system to a jingoist and racist dog whistle.. The big boss white man changed that narrative to suit HIS agenda (which seems to coincide ideologically with those fine people caring torches).
  14. by   Lil Nel
    I agree, BC. Symbols are meaningless.

    The spirit of the country resides within each one of us. And is demonstrated in the way we treat each other.

    I don't worship a flag or National Anthem. I hope I demonstrate what it means to be American everyday, in my daily living.

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