Readers’ views: To kneel or not?
The NFL should be ashamed of allowing sports to be politicized by their players. While millions want to watch a game and relax we instead have to watch athletes, who are phony social justice warriors, force us to watch them act out. What a waste. Their taking a knee does not even communicate what they would seek to change.
High-profile people are in a unique position to effect change. They could be part of an organization that makes progress, publicizes the effort and asks for public support. How many in the NFL mentor inner-city kids, donate money or form action committees? Not many.
NFL rules state that players will appear on the field and stand at attention for the American anthem. The NFL commissioner is not enforcing their own rules. That was President Trump’s point, and I agree. Bad management and fear of the PC police make the NFL weak. A national team should support the nation, its flag and anthem. Instead, the NFL has insulted the symbols most of us respect, causing us to lose respect for them. I will boycott the NFL and its sponsors.
President Trump went way too far in his recent condemnation of Colin Kaepernick and other athletes who kneel during the national anthem. He is our president. He is not a dictator who gets to pontificate on every subject under the sun.
My classroom during the Pledge of Allegiance mirrors the choices of professional athletes during the national anthem. Some of my students say every word of the pledge themselves. Some listen attentively to the voice leading them. Some have a hand over their hearts. Some do not. Some stand. Some sit. I do not get to fire them from my classroom for their choices. I do not fire them as a student, or as a citizen, nor should I have that power. I cannot even imagine thinking that way. The choice they make in how to participate also does not guarantee who is more patriotic or a better American.
Kneeling for the national anthem is also not disrespectful to the military veterans who have served. It is a matter of interpretation. You do not have to take it that way, but you can choose to do so. The anthem does not belong to the military anyway. It belongs to every last one of us, and it represents every last one of us.
The sports people, players and owners, along now with some politicians, who kneel or turn their backs or stay in the locker rooms while the national anthem is played and the American flag is waving are grossly misguided on how and where to direct their frustrations and their anger.
They should direct their frustrations and their anger toward the legislators who enact policies or make laws, but not at the anthem or the flag. The flag and the anthem do not represent racism or police brutality or anything else in particular that is protested against; they represent the nation as a whole and all that we have achieved over the last 241 years since our independence and the birth of the nation, including the Constitution, which includes the right to free speech and peaceful protest.
Lawmakers should bear the brunt of the people’s frustration and anger, but the flag and the anthem most certainly should not. If anything, it is incumbent upon all Americans to stand (if possible), remove hats, and have total respect for that flag and that anthem, for without that flag we might not have the rights we all enjoy today, including the right to protest.