Colin Kaepernick started it. It’s out of hand.
“If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend!” Trump tweeted just hours before the start of Sunday’s NFL games as likely more players kneel to protest racial injustice. “…NFL attendance and ratings are WAY DOWN. Boring games yes, but many stay away because they love our country. League should back U.S.” (President Donald Trump)
“The NFL and our players are at our best when we help create a sense of unity in our country and our culture. There is no better example than the amazing response from our clubs and players to the terrible natural disasters we’ve experienced over the last month,” Goodell said. “Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities.” (NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell)
What’s it all About?
PLEASE tell me the exact cause that these several dozen NFL, NBA, and now MLB players are taking a knee to promote. Please tell me why they have chosen the National Anthem as their “official” venue for doing so. You would think that the greatest money machine on Earth — the National Football League — who has more money to market their games, their pre-season training camps, their products, their image, and every other thing that will make them another dime — could easily create and implement the most visible stage in human history to promote their players’ new “cause.” Why haven’t they done so? Answer: they like most Americans don’t have any idea of the cause. Is it racial oppression, police brutality, wages, unemployment, inequality? Who knows: I certainly have no idea. I do know this: it would be very simple to let the world know exactly the reason for these protests. And it certainly would make millions of Americans understand what is worth the huge “new” political divide that is splitting America….AGAIN. Not since the 1960’s have we seen an environment in America as toxic as this.
Make NO mistake: this is NOT about free speech. Certainly every American has the right to speak their mind with protection from their speech being curtailed BY THE GOVERNMENT. Do not make the mistake that many of these athletes have made: the First Amendment protects Americans against “government” speech interference. It does not protect against private employers having say in their employees’ behavior when at work. And these athletes are definitely at work when they choose to demonstrate/protest.
No matter the cause, why did they pick the National Anthem? What in the National Anthem itself and its meaning to almost every American gives pause to a protest? Let’s analyze:
- The “National Anthem’s” history. “The Star-Spangled Banner” was recognized for official use by the United States Navy in 1889, and by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson in 1916, and was made the national anthem by a congressional resolution on March 3, 1931 (46 Stat. 1508, codified at 36 U.S.C. § 301), which was signed by President Herbert Hoover. As legend has it, singing the national anthem at sporting events began during the 1918 World Series, when the nation was at war. As recounted by the New York Times of Sept. 6, 1918, it was the seventh-inning stretch of the first game between the Chicago Cubs and the Boston Red Sox.“As the crowd of 10,274 spectators — the smallest that has witnessed the diamond classic in many years — stood up to take their afternoon yawn, that has been the privilege and custom of baseball fans for many generations, the band broke forth to the strains of ‘The Star-Spangled Banner. The yawn was checked and heads were bared as the ball players turned quickly about and faced the music. Jackie Fred Thomas of the U.S. Navy was at attention, as he stood erect, with his eyes set on the flag fluttering at the top of the lofty pole in right field. First the song was taken up by a few, then others joined, and when the final notes came, a great volume of melody rolled across the field. It was at the very end that the onlookers exploded into thunderous applause and rent the air with a cheer that marked the highest point of the day’s enthusiasm.”
- The Nation Anthem’s meaning. To millions of Americans the National Anthem in tandem with the American flag is the consummate embodiment of the freedom for which hundreds of thousands of Americans have fought and died to protect. They have not been just white, but black, yellow, brown, Christian, Muslim, atheist and agnostic. Those symbols of freedom are especially dear to those who have served in the military and those who have lost those loved ones in war. Children for decades in many schools each morning have stood and said the “Pledge of Allegiance” and sung the “Star-Bangled Banner” with a hand over heart facing the Flag. Their doing so was a manner of honoring the institution of the United States, the U.S. Military, and the people who have served.
Americans don’t understand. It’s hard to agree with any cause when you don’t understand what the cause is. There’s no clarity about a cause. Kaepernick described his reasoning this way: “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media’s Steve Wyche. “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.”
But there was no Kaepernick kneeling when he starred at University of Nevada Reno or when he joined the 49ers. His activism did not show its face until Nessa Diab — a liberal radio talk show host in San Francisco — started dating Colin. Nessa shocked the world on August 3 when she posted a tweet that appeared to compare Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti to a slave owner. The tweet came after rumors emerged that the Ravens were keen on a deal that would bring Kaepernick to Baltimore. That deal was nixed by Bisciotti.