In 2016, an NFL player named Colin Kaepernick decided to sit on the bench during the national anthem as a way of protesting the unarmed killings of African Americans being by the police in large numbers, usually without repercussions or for the officers involved. A veteran called out Kaepernick, who felt his protest was disrespectful to the national flag and military, Colin Kaepernick called the veteran to have a discussion, after which they agreed rather than sitting on the bench, he would kneel on the sidelines.
The kneeling gesture is prominent throughout history, an example being the 1960s civil rights movement, viewed to be a respectful protest. However this act brought with it praise and backlash from the American people, he lost his contract with the 49ers and remains unemployed to this day. The issue was further worsened when Trump become president as he went on television and called the protestors “a bunch of son of bitches” and called for sacking of any player that refused to stand for the national anthem. This brought with it mixed reactions from football teams but most players responded with solidarity to their fellow teammates. The NFL organization stated they would not be firing any players for silently protesting for what they believed in but people vowed to boycott the NFL because of this. Kaepernick himself remained without a contract and even filed a complaint, saying NFL teams were conspiring to keep him unemployed. The real discussion is whether, Kaepernicks protest is disrespecting the patriotism of the nation, if, at all it is disrespectful…
An argument maybe made, that not standing for the national anthem is a lawful form of nonviolent protest, which is a First Amendment right. President Obama said Kaepernick was ‘exercising his constitutional right to make a statement. I think there’s a long history of sports figures doing so.'
Here we are arguing that every American has the right to stand for what they believe in and Kaepernick was exercising his first amendment rights, to petition the government to act upon the large number of claims of brutal and racist conducts exhibited by the police.
The other side of this hotly contentious debate is that rejecting to stand for the national anthem portrays disrespect for the American flag and their troops. The star spangled banner pays homage to the men and women who have risked their lives, incurred injuries, or were fatally wounded defending the United States America. Carole Isham, a great-great-great-granddaughter of the writer of the national anthem (Francis Scott Key) stated, ‘It just blows my mind that somebody like (Kaepernick) would do what he does to dishonor the flag of this country and the national anthem when we have young men and women overseas fighting for this country, people that have died for this country.' Her statement shows how beloved the armed forces is and anyone who smears its name in any form shall incur the wrath of the American people.
You have to admire Kaepernick resolute stance as it has cost him his job and probably even friends but his stuck to it and even garnered new support from the likes of Nike (their new ad). I believe what his advocating is more important than the so-called hurt “feelings” of American citizen. More importantly the very reason soldiers fight for their country is so that its people can live in peace and freedom. This in itself is the true disrespect to American soldiers who sacrifice to keep us safe, only to come home to find innocent Americans being murdered, abused and discriminated against.