18 Feb Do you believe kneeling to protest during the national anthem disrespects the troops?
Kneeling to protest is quickly transforming into one of the most popular ways of defiance. It all began in 2016 when San Francisco 49ers quarterback – Colin Kaepernick chose to kneel while the national anthem was being played before the start of NFL games. He later stated that this was an attempt to protest racial injustice and systematic oppression of African-American people in the United States.
This became a vastly discussed subject in the media. The negative responses included USA President Donald Trump saying that professional athletes who protest during the US national anthem should be fired while positive responses included other athletes and celebrities publicly donning Kaepernick jerseys to voice support.
Proponents proudly captured the internet with messages like – “Refusing to stand for the National anthem is an acceptable manner of protest and is protected by the First Amendment.”
Colin Kaepernick said, “I’m not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color… To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall, who also knelt during the national anthem, said, “The message is I’m against social injustice… I’m not against the military or police or America at all.”
Many other athletes have since followed the trend and have continued kneeling.
Shirley Carole Isham, the direct descendant of Francis Scott Key, the author the Star Spangled Banner, said she was heartbroken that Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the anthem to protest social injustice. Isham criticized the manner Colin decided to highlight the oppression of African Americans. “It’s very painful for me,’’ Isham said. “It just blows my mind that somebody like (Kaepernick) would do what he does to dishonor the flag of this country and the national anthem when we have young men and women overseas fighting for this county, people that have died for this country.”
Not all descendants of Francis Scott Key share Isham’s opinion. Suzanne Key Boyle Herrmann, who is a second cousin of Key, expressed support for Kaepernick. “He had every right to do what he did,” said Herrmann, 73, a social worker who lives in Morristown Township, N.J.” And because of what he did it has sparked conversation and conversation is so healthy in this country to have on the issues of equality and rights.”
The controversy continued as the President continued to tweet about the issue and others contributed opinions for and against kneeling during the anthem.
L et’s listen to a few comments by Military Veterans –
Rocio Serna – U.S. Army veteran[i]
“I feel that the affairs of NFL players are somewhat trivial at the feet of the United States president. I study psychology, and we look at everything as a symptom of something bigger—of a deeper issue. NFL protesting is just a symptom of a deep-rooted issue. President Trump needs to be focusing on the deep-rooted issues, not the symptom.”
Michael Rodriguez – Green Beret veteran
“I just think they don’t know what they’re doing. Ignorance is the watchword right now. I’ll be honest, I pity them. I feel sorry for them because they don’t realize the luxuries and safety and freedoms they’re blessed with. That’s what the flag represents: everything they’re blessed with, the millions of dollars these guys have, all the luxuries they have.”
In a nutshell, proponents justify the action considering it a legal form of peaceful protest under the First Amendment. Opponents consider it disrespectful to the country and the people who have risked their lives or died defending the United States.
You have invested your lives to protect the country’s sovereignty! What are your thoughts? Do you consider kneeling to protest as disrespectful towards the troops?
[i] 4 Veterans Respond to NFL National Anthem Protests. https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/a13788869/4-veterans-nfl-national-anthem-protests/