The NFL players’ revolt started about a year ago but was not immediately noticed. During the preseason games, NFL star Colin Kaepernick actually sat in the stands during the national anthem of the United States. He later reversed his stance to take a knee, stating that he was doing so to show more respect for war veterans. The stance developed into a more iconic posture. Numerous players agreed to enter the demonstration amid opposition from supporters who thought it was insulting to the nation. In his own terms, Kaepernick stated; “I am not going to rise up and demonstrate self-importance in a flag for a nation that represses the people of color and black people.” The paper, therefore, intends to discuss the issue of NFL players kneeling during National Anthem by evaluating both the arguments for and against the point.
Arguments for NFL Players Kneeling
Police brutality has become a contentious issue in the lives of most American people especially the black people and the people of color (Marston 47). It has come due to recurrent videos displaying police firing and slaying black men who are not armed. The videos have been forwarded online and gone viral explaining the viciousness that black individuals in America must go through when dealing with some law enforcement agency officers. In most instances, the police officers always walk away scot-free without serving any prison time after pulling the trigger. It is the reason why the NFL players decided to show their unity with the victims of police brutality by protesting and deifying the national anthem (Marston 49). Mr. Trump fuelled the whole thing when he pointed out that the NFL players who were kneeling during the national anthem would be fired. After, the comments some of the teams decided not to come onto the field after the remarks by Trump. Majority of Americans think that the remarks by President Trump on the issue of kneeling are not appropriate. It is the right of the players to speak out and transform the public and kneeling to convey the message can supplement that message (Marston 52).
Social media has given an opportunity for both sides to express their sentiments on both sides as well as the adherents of the forces who side with the NFL players. Failing to can be viewed as a permissible form of passive demonstration which is in the First Amendment Right (Pena). President Obama pointed out that Kaepernick and his fellow teammates who took part in the kneeling incident were exercising their constitutional rights to make a statement. Kaepernick and others are not the first ones to do so as there is a long history of sports personalities that have done so (Pena).
The NFL players led by Reid pointed out that their objective was to make people uncomfortable about the issues of social justice. It is done through the national anthem because it is a platform that gets people to the conversation table (Pena). It is the only time that they have that all the fans and the whole world will set their eye on them and get the message because merely discussing the issue in their locker rooms will not be known by the public. A segment of Americans has chosen to interpret the peaceful protests of racial discrimination as a protest against the flag. Some people do not want to understand and accept the fact that there is social injustice in the world as well as police brutality and this is the main reason why the players are protesting peacefully by kneeling during the national anthem (Pena). Besides, the NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell supported the players pointing out that they have a profound understanding of the issues that are happening in all the communities.
Their commitment to addressing these problems has been admirable, and they need the support of the club owners and the cities because they have stood for thorny issues that have promoted division in the society. It is an indirect way to work for the community and to use their platform for influence. The players feel responsible for the country and are working on diverse approaches to have long-lasting changes in place (Rorke and Adam 85). Failing to kneel during the national anthem is not lack of respect for men and women who fought for the country. It is because the players have friends and family members who have gone to fight for the country. They have gone to battle for freedom, autonomy, and impartiality and that is not taking place in America. People are dying in futile since the state is not ready to give liberty and truth that men and women in uniform alongside the founding fathers fought for (Rorke and Adam 87).
Against NFL Players Kneeling
Not all people have come to agree with the NFL players who have taken the knee during the national anthem (Rorke and Adam 92). Some have pointed out that the protest touched off by Kaepernick was disrespectful to the flag, the military veterans and the country as a whole. Individuals who have disagreed with the rally have vowed to burn the Jerseys of the quarterback and boycott the NFL. Failing to stand during the national anthem is an ineffectual and counterproductive way to stimulate a cause (Rorke and Adam 95). It is not a good impression to be an interruption of one’s team or use the team as a platform. Not standing can get in the way of the message that an individual intends to portray. When it comes to the issue of the national anthem and the connotation that it holds for men and women in uniform especially for those who have fought for the country is a terrible thing for them.
It furies many and sows disunion in the country. Kaepernick and others who have declined to stand for the national anthem have instigated divisions among their fellow players, the fans, and the whole nation (Rorke and Adam 104). For instance, The Santa Clara Police have implied that they would shun offering security for the games after the NFL player exposed his motives for objecting to national anthem and putting on socks portraying pigs in law enforcement agency uniforms. To many, the national anthem is more than a song and signifies the decisive worthy in the U.S. When people overhaul about something as much as they do about the national anthem, belittling it will not promote a healthy dialogue when searching for a solution (Pena). When people hear of the national anthem, they think of the founding fathers who crafted the declaration of the independence well aware that they could be signing their death warrant.
Listening to the national anthem make people think of the millions of Americans living their lives as fathers, mothers, and children (Pena). People should never shy away from acknowledging their issues but should equally celebrate their strengths and those of others in the national capacity such as giving respect to the national anthem. When the NFL players use this particular time of unity to advance their agenda, then it is apparent that outrage is justifiable. Players who kneel break a social norm to send a message, and this causes a stir, and the reaction can be elevated when people hold a social standard so near and dear to the national anthem (Pena).
Some people view national anthem as just a song that represents a country of oppression while others see it as a symbol of America. People may not agree with what the players did but can defend their freedom of speech (Pena). The whole issue is controversial, and every American is touched by the problem directly or indirectly. However, when one believes that a country is not living up to its principles of liberty, refusing to stand for the national anthem can be justified (Marston 55). It is through the public figures such as sportsmen that real issue that affects the society can be addressed peacefully without going to the streets. People should focus on the root of the problem. Social justice should prevail in every American institution because through social justice individuals will feel accommodated and accepted in their country and they will not have any reason to kneel during the national anthem (Marston 57).
Marston, Steve. “The Revival of Athlete Activism (s): Divergent Black Politics in the 2016 Presidential Election Engagements of LeBron James and Colin Kaepernick.” FairPlay, Revista de Filosofia, Ética y Derecho del Deporte 10 (2017): 45-68.
Pena, Vincent. “Taking a stand by kneeling: An analysis of national anthem protest coverage.” (2017).
Rorke, Tom, and Adam Copeland. “Athletic disobedience: providing a context for analysis of Colin Kaepernick’s protest.” FairPlay, Revista de Filosofia, Ética y Derecho del Deporte 10 (2017): 83-107.