Do you pledge allegiance?
America is changing, are you?
NFL players have recently kneeled, raised a fist, locked arms, or performed other forms of protest against the national anthem due to police brutality; this phenomena has occurred with more frequency as Trump barbarically urged them to stand for the anthem. These events have caused nationwide controversy as an increasing amount of players are taking part in this movement.
To begin, it is essential to mention that everything that has happened so far does not surpass peaceful protesting. This type of protesting is the fundamental way an American is able to communicate his or her ideas while conforming to legal regulations within society. According to the first amendment, freedom of speech cannot be limited by the government, and so every player has full permission by the constitution to hinder from standing during the national anthem if they wish.
One NFL team that has gotten significant attention from the press during the course of last week include a group of about 30 San Francisco 49er players who knelt during the anthem while the rest of the team stood behind them. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, the main initiator of this commotion, boldly stated: “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”(Washington Post).
As a result of Kaepernick’s choice, president Donald Trump aggressively attempted to diminish the powerful domino effect taking place in America, with virtually no avail. At a recent speech in Alabama, the president childishly criticized the quarterback, “Get that son of a bitch off the field, he is fired” (Chicago Tribune).
Trump’s offensive language has proven to be a triggered response due to his deep obsession with patriotism. The president would have partially made a valid point if he claimed that not being in a full standing position during the national anthem is disrespectful to the armed forces; however, the whole idea behind kneeling is to show respect to the American flag while silently protesting.
Army Special Forces veteran Nate Boyer has stated that his conversations with Kaepernick influenced the former NFL player to kneel, rather than sit out, during the anthem in order to ensure the player is showing respect for his country (CBS Sports). Today, members of the armed forces who express support to Kaepernick’s right to protest are posting under the hashtag #VeteransForKaepernick on Twitter.
Although valid points from the opposing view can be made, the core of this issue should reflect upon the effects of police brutalities and other forms of social injustices that many Americans of color are forced to face today. Rather than disregarding this movement as irrational and disrespectful, understanding why these actions have started in the first place would signify the beginning of a new generation without prejudice and injustices.