NFL PLAYER PROTESTS PUT IN PERSPECTIVE.
When Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem in a football game in 2016 it drew one sided criticism. A few players followed suit but it remained an isolated incident until the President’s Alabama rally where he said the S.O.Bs should be fired. A firestorm ensued.
Colin’s protest was about African-Americans getting shot by police officers, profiled by law enforcement and labeled as dangerous thugs by society (HRC label).
Kaepernick’s message has been distorted, garbled and repurposed to fit specialized agendas dating back to the Civil Rights Movement. Trump’s comments and twitters have made the mix unrecognizable.
When he first kneeled, long before Trump was elected, his protest was clear and concise, although we have heard social justice complaints many times before, just not in the anthem/flag format.
Sunday’s protests were a case study in the Law of Unexpected Consequences. The president fanned a fire that he wanted extinguished. Or perhaps he got just what he wanted: more headlines with his name in them, fuel for his ego or cover for policy maneuvering and a stamp to insure the white vote.
In either case, Trump is right. Do not dishonor what has long been a symbol of freedom and the American way.
The question remains. It is not a clarification of the right to protest, we all know the 1st Amendment and what it provides; a license to say or do just about anything. Rather, It is problematic whether the sanctity of our national anthem and the huge unfurled flag should be violated by an irrelevant protest that best be staged in an appropriate venue.
Could the players pick a different place and time to display their discontent? Of course they can, but they won’t because this national stage provides them with a huge audience at the precise time when their attention span is focused during the singing of the Star Spangled Banner.
The protests have run into a much larger problem. Disrespecting and dishonoring the men in uniform is sacrosanct. That includes the armed forces, policemen, fire fighters, and 1st responders. Trump is on their side and won’t recant. He never does. They are all tough acts to follow.
The protest has become a bigger story than the issues which prompted it. Political figures, media pundits, and headline seekers use it to further their own aims. They don’t move the needle anymore when they hurl personal insults.
This was never about anything having to do with the anthem or kneeling, it’s been about raising awareness to black social injustice.
It has rekindled and triggered racial divisiveness. It has drawn a line in the sand bringing in owners of NFL teams, the NFL players, coaches, politicians, pundits, men and women in uniforms, and Mr. Average Citizen.
While these are not race riots, to be sure, they are just as effective if not more so because of the mass audience it has attracted. How will it end, and surely it will as it gets stale? We cannot expect sweeping legislation to change things as it is already in place.
It will be up to each individual to lose their prejudices which date back past the American Civil War. Will that happen? Can there be the Utopia which our Constitution envisioned?
You decide for yourself.