The debate over kneeling in protests during the anthem was brought back up again with the comments of New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees saying “I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country.” Many athletes such as his teammates Michael Thomas and Malcolm Jenkins as well as NBA superstar LeBron James chimed in and ripped Brees for his comments. There are a lot of problems in regards to racism and perceived police brutality in the United States and there’s a long way to go to put an end to these issues, but kneeling in protests during the anthem is not the answer.
I believe.Recent eventsThe ongoing protests and violence have largely been in regard to now-former police officer Derek Chauvin using excessive force by kneeling on the neck of George Floyd for eight minutes and 46 seconds on May 25. It seemingly resulted in George Floyd’s death. As a white person, I was beyond disgusted to see that occurred and that the reason for Derek Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd’s neck was possibly because of his race as an African American person. At first, Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder but it has since been upgraded to second-degree murder. Chauvin should be charged to the fullest extent of the law, I believe.In apparent footage that has been seen by few, George Floyd was at first placed in a police cruiser and took a beating from an officer before he was placed on the ground and kneeled on.
As a result of the incident surrounding George Floyd, protests have taken place all over the United States and other countries in the world. Every citizen has the right to peaceful protests and every sane person should be protesting for change to people of color from what has been happening. But, some of these protests have gone way too far. Buildings are being burnt, stores are being looted, violence is occurring and there is no need for that as it doesn’t bring justice. Rather it brings more problems.Kneeling in protest during the anthem debateKneeling for the anthem became a topic when Colin Kaepernick first kneeled in protest for the anthem during a 2016 preseason game.
At first, Kaepernick sat for the anthem but went to kneeling after talking to Nate Boyer, a long snapper and former soldier.He explained that he kneeled in protest for the anthem to protest police brutality against people of color in the United States. Since he started this movement, many NFL players followed suit and kneeled in protest during the anthem as well. Others linked arms during the anthem or raised a fist to join the protest. Kneeling even made its way to the MLB where Bruce Maxwell kneeled in protest for the anthem before a game in 2017. Neither Kaepernick nor Maxwell currently play in their respective leagues.Disrespectful to the people who serveWhen the national anthem is being played, whether it’s at a sports game or a different event, people think about the people who serve their country to allow them to live freely in peace.
The anthem also represents unity as a country regardless of people’s background, religion, culture, or race.In the United States, there are approximately 800 000 police officers who serve to protect their city, town, state, and borders. When listening to the anthem, those are the people we think about and thank for our freedom and protection. That is why when the anthem is played, they stand still and salute. While there is police brutality going on and there are officers like Derek Chauvin who apparently use a person’s race as a reason to use excessive force, those officers represent a very small majority of the 800 000.When listening to the anthem, we also think about the soldiers who allow America to be a country free of terror and war to allow American citizens to live in peace and quiet.
We also honor the soldiers that lost their lives protecting the United States of America in all wars that have taken place. Without their sacrifice, America would not be the same.In regards to sports, many athletes have voiced their opinion on whether kneeling during the anthem should be acceptable. Star hockey player Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs said that kneeling for the anthem is a ”dishonor to members of the military who fight for the flag.” His family served in the military. The same goes for now-retired African American MLB player C.C. Sabathia who said that he wouldn’t kneel during the anthem as he has a family member that served in Iraq.The anthem also represents the politicians that serve their country, state, or town.
While they don’t put their lives on the line, they represent the citizens that elected them to their position to govern who and what they represent. While not everyone will agree with everything they stand for, it is still rude to kneel when they represent not only what they’re designated to, but the citizens they represent as well.There is a problem in AmericaThere’s no denying the fact that there is a problem in America in regards to racism. The death of George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer is one of just many incidents of police brutality and oppression against African Americans. There are police officers who abuse their power and use excessive force against people of color.
One way to bring awareness to this issue is to form a committee of people in power to combat racism and bring justice. For example, a few NBA coaches have just recently formed a committee for racial injustice which includes Gregg Popovich, Steve Kerr, David Fizdale among others. These people are well respected in their industry and they could form ways on how to fight racism and put an end to it. Other big industries like the other major sports leagues should follow suit of the NBA and form a committee that consists of coaches, players, and others to fight racism.Not only should industries like sports form these kinds of committees, but people of other industries should form committees too with the focus being fighting racism and injustice.
People of major wealth like Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, and other extremely wealthy people should come together and come up with ways to put an end to racism. With the wealth and power (to some extent) that these kinds of people have, they can donate large sums of money to charities like Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ, and other charities that fight racism as well as come up with their own forms of putting an end to racism.In the white house, President Trump should form a bill/legislation condemning racism of all kinds as well as form a group that consists of people of various backgrounds to show diversity and unity. Federal governments of other countries should also take similar steps as mentioned.
There’s no doubt that change is needed, but kneeling in protest for the anthem is not a respectful way to do it.