- Category: Volume 88 (Fall 2016 - Spring 2017)
- Published: 14 September 2016
- Written by BRENDAN GREVE | CO-POLITCS EDITOR
Last Sunday was significant to many Americans as it was the opening weekend of NFL football, and more importantly, the fif-teenth anniversary of the attacks on our nation suffered on September 11th, 2001. However, perhaps what was getting the most at-tention from the fans this year were the actions of the players before the game and not during– due to the symbolic protest of not standing during the national anthem because of racial inequalities started in the preseason by San Francisco 49’s quarter-back, Collin Kaepernick, that has caught on with players from around the league. These protests represented the controversial topic of race that has especially consumed the nature of the media and politics of the nation over the last year and a half and the topic is much bigger than football. However, it is my firm belief that some of these NFL players are demonstrating on this issue the wrong way.
To be fair, there were some players that showed strength and symbolism in noncontroversial ways. For example, there were ru-mors swirling around the media that the entire Seattle Seahawks team would kneel during the national anthem. However, they in-stead chose to all link arms for the anthem. By doing this, the Seahawks took the high road by showing respect to the flag on the an-niversary of a great tragedy, while showing unity among their players– white and black.
It was upsetting to me that many players did not stand for the national anthem, especially on the anniversary of 9/11. Although race relations in our country have improved a great deal in the past few decades, there is no denying that racial tensions still exist. However, disrespecting our nations flag isn’t going to help the cause. First, demonstrating frustration in that way just adds fuel to the fire. The NFL players that didn’t stand are not the only people in the country that have used irresponsible rhetoric in response to this problem.
Many politicians and groups such as the Black Lives Matter movement have used divisive rhetoric for the past few years and has pinned Americans against each other. All this does is insight people. It fuels hateful people on both sides and flushes out the voices of the reasonable and logical Americans of all colors. It reinforces this reinforces this stigma that many black Americans have that they feel the American dream is not for them, which is not true. To the thousands of young kids that look up to these players as role mod-els, these sorts of actions just teach them to hate rather than unify.
This stunt was mainly addressed to cops, who are slandered with accusations of racism by the media, This nation has already seen what this extreme rhetoric could do this summer as police officers were killed at a peaceful protest in Dallas and the senseless rioting that has gone on in inner cities. This protest was disrespectful to the country that all types of Americans know and love. Unin-formed observers and biased media outlets will just portray this issue as another white vs. black issue and not as it is, a disagreement over idea’s and the appropriateness false rhetoric.
It is unfair for these players to disrespect the flag, which represents all Americans, in order to address the few hateful Americans that their rhetoric and symbolism actually applies too. It is also very misguided to paint police officers with a broad brush when the vast majority of them are brave civilians that want to make their communities a safer place and do not want to promote hate. Again, the flag does not represent the hatred of cops, it represents all free Americans of all colors, genders, sexual orientations, and religions.
IMAGE TAKEN from Miami Herald