Opinion: You shall not kneel

 Illustration by: Will Madison

Illustration by: Will Madison

Football is back, and more controversial than ever. Last year in August of 2016, Colin Kaepernick decided to kneel during the national anthem to bring attention to the racial injustice that has been happening in our country, and that was just the beginning of it all. So far this season, a huge number of players, coaches, and owners have kneeled or locked arms during the singing of the national anthem.

Now here’s my opinion. I think it is stupid. I do not like them kneeling for the anthem; I find it disrespectful.  Now to preface, I am from a very conservative family, and have a brother who’s involved in both the military and law enforcement. Throughout my childhood it was instilled in me to stand, put my hand over my heart, be quiet, and respect the flag during the singing of the national anthem. That it was a small price to pay for the sacrifice that many men and women have given for the flag and my freedom. Apparently not everyone shares those morals.

With the original scandal of Colin Kaepernick kneeling for the anthem, I didn’t think much of it. I respected his First Amendment right to protest, and I was aware of the injustice to which he was bringing attention. While I didn’t like the means in how he handled it, I was respectful of him trying to bring awareness to something he was so passionate about. But that sure has changed. The motive of kneeling for the anthem before football games has switched from bringing awareness to an injustice to just flat out disrespecting our president and our flag.  If they wanted to protest racial injustice, they would’ve protested last year, rather than waiting an entire year. This has more to do with their dislike for the president than anything.

So many players and teams have been “protesting” these past four weeks, but they really just look like attention seekers. These athletes make millions of dollars to throw a football around while there are men and women dying over the flag that they are disrespecting. The American flag means so much more to our nation than just a piece of fabric, and while the flag represents their freedom to protest, it doesn’t mean that they should disrespect it in the process.

The national anthem is roughly a little over two minutes. Those two minutes are a time to respect our nation and the freedoms we have, not protest an issue. There are a million other ways that these athletes could show their support without being disrespectful. For instance, I am all for Odell Beckham Jr. raising his fist in the air after every touchdown he scores. That has the same intentions all these kneelers have while also being respectful.

These athletes have been blessed beyond belief, and for them to have the audacity to not come out of the locker room for the anthem is utterly disgusting. Instead of looking ungrateful for their position, why don’t they use their platform and influence to do something about the issues for which they are bringing attention? All theyre doing is talking about it, they aren’t trying to fix it. For instance, why don’t they spend some of their time meeting with police stations and have conversations with them, or they could do some campaigning with the NFL to help set up organizations to help their cause.  There are so many ways to fight the power without bringing disrespect into the mix.

The First Amendment is an incredible blessing, and they have every right to exercise it. They just need to show some respect. But hey, this is just my opinion.

 

VoicesMaggie Voorhees