national anthem protests
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In light of the unfortunate comments the president made last night in Alabama, I thought I’d share a link to my thoughts on the subject from a year ago. To reset the discussion I’ll provide a preface, for those who might need it.

During a preseason NFL game in 2016, the cameras caught Colin Kaepernick, then the QB for the San Francisco 49ers, silently protesting racial injustice in society by sitting during the national anthem. This immediately caught nationwide attention. I was out of town when the news came across my feed so I did not immediately respond. I caught glimpses of supporters and detractors of the action on social media but, again, I was otherwise occupied and, anyway, taking my time to let it sink in. One thing I pride myself in is not having gut-reactions to events.

Last night during a rally in Alabama, Donald Trump called upon the owners in the NFL to fire players who kneel during the national anthem. He chose to call anyone who protests in this manner a “son of a bitch.” Hardly presidential talk, but well within his rights to express. Which is an important distinction, because the right of expression is the very thing at stake here.

My initial reactions are in the link I provided. My thoughts have evolved again, as they should. Colin Kaepernick did not dodge out bounds, but has stood strong in the pocket. Others have joined his crusade. He has proven to be the leader of a peaceable movement of protest. He deserves our applause.

The president, on the other hand, deserves only our disdain on this. I am a big fan of the game of football, and an even bigger fan of the ideals of this nation. Any president who would take a stance against those ideals should be taken to task. Perhaps even fired.

With that, I’ll leave the link to my initial thoughts which, I believe, still largely hold strong. Agree or disagree with a stance, we, as Americans, should support the right to express it. It is, or ought to be, the American way.

Standing Behind the Sitting QB

8 thoughts on “The President and the National Anthem

  • Both this and your original post are spot-on and superbly written. Thank you for your own courageous willingness to look at such things from every angle and remind us of the importance of sticking to ones values.

    • Thank you, sir! I’m quite happy about how this whole situation has evolved in the year since I wrote that first piece. The man has stood by his convictions and proven to be the person my better angels hoped he would be. Glad you enjoyed them!

  • Trace-Blogs

    I read this yesterday and didn’t get a chance to comment but since then, I have seen an entire team has knelt down in protest. Although I am an eternal pessimist, I am actually hopeful that all of these things are leading us to a more enlightened humanity. People like Trump and issues like the current “marriage equality postal survey” happening in Australia are exposing the bigots for who they are, drawing out the hate and shining a light on it. It’s terrifying but perhaps it’s necessary to heal the world. Here’s hoping! Great post!

    • Thank you, Trace! Like you, I’m hopeful that casting this new light on the subject will lead to greater enlightenment, but I’m skeptical as well. Perhaps it is the fact that I know so many personally who choose to vilify these peaceful and constitutionally-protected protests, and so many who venerate this commander-in-chief. It’s bizarre. I’ll never understand how anyone can place “country over all!” after so much that history has taught us about that stance.

      I’ll keep battling for the cause of wisdom and awareness, nonetheless. I know no other way.

      Good luck with that survey over there! It would be a great victory for equality everywhere if “yes” wins the vote.

      Thanks again for being a part of the discussion!

  • Thanks Tom! I was hoping someone (you) would write about this! As a Canadian, we are all enthralled with the antics of the President, as a football fan I was mortified. I mean, first of all, I’m sure he has more important things to do (like prevent a war with North Korea) then make comments about football. But in essence, he is unifying people (although against him), it is still bringing acknowledgment and attention to an important issue.

    I thought the way they handled the issue on Monday Night Football was classy. They called it out, they invited the spectators and fans to link arms, an entire team and OWNER took a knee, but then stood to acknowledge the anthem, still arm and arm. I’m of two minds on this issue and that’s okay. But freedom of speech and expression are pivotal to our society. As is the right to a peaceful protest. Kudos to the NFL for standing it’s ground and for you shedding some light on the issue.

    • The owners and players really handled it well on Monday, and the whole weekend long! The protests, this week, were a direct response to the president’s unfortunate comments, a direct response to authoritarianism. I could not have been prouder.

      Thank you so much for the response. Glad to know our neighbors to the north are watching with interest, and undoubtedly revulsion, at the antics of our commander-in-chief. We share your stunned disbelief. 😉

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