September 22, 2021

Kneeling: unpatriotic, or freedom of speech?

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This archived article was written by: Tai Justice

Although week three
in the NFL was filled with
great games, that went down
to the wire, the bigger story
happened before the games
even started. It started with
President Donald Trump
using his favorite way to
communicate, Twitter, to
call NFL players that kneel
before the anthem “SOBs,”
and saying that they should
be fired.
First of all, doing that would be moving us towards
fascism and is downright against the first amendment.
The president tweeting these things united the NFL
players and had them launching all sorts of protests.
From the Pittsburgh Steelers, Tennessee Titans and
Seattle Seahawks not coming out for the anthem, because
they see this country as too divided right now,
to the Denver Broncos who’s entire team basically
kneeled or raised the black power fist and to LeSean
McCoy calling out the president and to pretty much
every team having some type of protest, team owners
included. Sept. 24, 2017 will be a day NFL fans never
forget. Now, let’s get down to it.
I’m not going to engage in what the president did in
this article. I’m not going to engaged on the absurdity
of what he said to these players. I’m not going to talk
about how, the day after his inauguration, tweeted his
support of peaceful protests, which these players are
doing, are as peaceful as it gets.
What I’m talking about is
what these players are actually
protesting. I keep hearing that
they are protesting the anthem and
that couldn’t be more wrong. The
players have been more than clear
that they are using the anthem to
protest the inequalities and racial
injustices happening throughout
our country.
They’re trying to make America a better country.
That’s what Trump has been saying, right? Make
America Great Again? Never once has any of these
players said that they are anti America, anti the anthem
or anti military. In fact, when Colin Kaepernick
started this over a year ago one of his reasons was that
military veterans don’t get treated well enough after
they come back from defending our country.
Now, let’s get down to. Let’s go over something
that is considered disrespectful when regarding the
flag via the U.S. Flag Code. Wearing any type of flag
clothes, labeled as disrespect. Not standing, isn’t.
Laying the flag horizontally, labeled as disrespect.
Not standing for the anthem, is not. Yet somehow the
entire discussion has been changed to these players
disrespecting America, the flag and the country, when
they simply aren’t.
They are using their platform as athletes to bring
awareness to issues that have plagued America forever.
Please read their messages and what they are saying.
Please understand why they are protesting before you
saying things like, “kick them out of the country.” It’s
important to understand the message.
NFL fans will remember Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017
as the day the NFL changed. The day player activism
started. The NBA has always had their bigger stars
speaking out about issues. Whether that’s LeBron
James having words about the president, Kevin Durant
saying he’s against what the president stands for
or Stephen Curry saying that he wouldn’t go to the
White House, if invited.
These are the biggest names in the world, not just
sports and they have been speaking out for a while
now. NFL joined them on Sunday. Before the season
started Malcom Jenkins was wondering why more
NFL players were not speaking up. He will no longer
have to wonder that. The players have a voice in the
NFL for the first time ever. I don’t see it ever going
away either.
My purpose, in writing this article, wasn’t to
convince you that you should kneel or stand. My
purpose was to make sure everyone understands the
messages athletes are putting out there. Listening to
their message might change your opinion entirely, it
might not. But it’s important to hear it; Sunday was
significant. For the first time in league history, players
weren’t expected to stay quiet. They were told they
could speak out, and guess what? NFL ratings were
the highest they’ve been, since 2008, that week. If you
come at the NFL, you best not miss.

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