It is obvious there is anger throughout the league from world renown athletes to the general managers of those professional teams. Professional athletes such as LeBron James, professional basketball player for the Cleveland Cavaliers, have spoken out about racial injustices throughout our nation and have exemplified their frustration for our current president, Donald Trump. LeBron does not stand alone; since President Donald Trump’s inauguration in January, national protests have increased at an alarming rate.
Colin Kaepernick, former San Francisco 49ers Quarterback, protested August 14th, and August 20th, 2016 during preseason games by sitting during the National Anthem. He did not gain national attention until the third preseason game August 26th. It is a story most Americans are all too familiar with.
The president at the time, Barack Obama, commended Kaepernick saying that, “I believe that us honoring our flag and our anthem is part of what binds us together as a nation. But I also always try to remind folks that part of what makes this country special is that we respect people’s rights to have a different opinion.”
President Obama went on to say that he wanted Kaepernick, as well as fellow athletes and those in support of his protest throughout the nation, to try and comprehend the opposition’s opinion. Obama wanted the protesters to “listen to the pain that may cause somebody who, for example, had a spouse or a child who was killed in combat and why it hurts them to see somebody not standing.”
With that being said Obama also wanted those defending the flag and our nation’s National Anthem, “to think about the pain he (Kaepernick) may be expressing about somebody who’s lost a loved one that they think was unfairly shot.”
Now flash-forward to current President Donald Trump; he has taken an almost polar opposite approach from his predecessor. He called on the NFL team owners to take a stand for our nation and strike down these acts of protests individually. He went on to make a very demeaning comment saying, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, you’d say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!’”
Was the comment was made out of spite because of the protests or out of pure pride for our nation, and what it stands for, it was altogether remarkably uncivil and all too common in today’s uncivilized world? Regardless, his comments have sparked more professional athletes to take a stand and if anything have made matters worse.
Both sides obviously have very in-depth and correct stances. Statistics do reveal disparities for minorities throughout our nation in education, mass incarceration, police brutality cases, employment, housing, and even wages paid to minorities. At the same time, this amazing nation is also blessed to be defended by an elite Marine, Air Force, Army, Navy, and Coast Guard. Every day there is someone making the ultimate sacrifice for this nation and hundreds of thousands of soldiers who have already made this selfless act of sacrifice. They not only make this sacrifice for their very own family but for every citizen in our nation. We our blessed to be able have freedom of speech. Imagine living in North Korea.
The issue isn’t whether one side is right or one side is wrong, but trying to understand the opposition and the reason they stand for what they believe in. Whether you agree with someone, or you don’t, realize that everyone is entitled to their very own opinion that is the beauty of living in America. There is common ground and we can approach it together as one nation if we are willing to close our mouth and use our ears even more.
Personally, I believe that most Americans have not even sought to fully understand our very own “illustrious national anthem.” What I mean by this is ask yourself, as an American citizen, do you really understand your national anthem? Do not feed into what the media feeds you, but instead take it upon yourself and look up the national anthem for yourself.
Once you look it up you’ll realize there’s a third stanza. Most Americans today are unaware of this stanza because it is not sung. It reads like this and after you read it I’ll allow you to form your own opinion from it:
And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
In conclusion, this country has been through a period of Revolution, Civil War, Reconstruction, World War I and World War II. Today, we are dealing with the repercussions of these wars, as well as the repercussions of slavery.
The mindset of our founding fathers, is not the mindset of American citizens today. Slavery clearly does not exist, and our country is far more diverse than ever before. Therefore, this outdated form of thought slowly needs to be transformed and modified to represent the “Greatest Republic” the world has ever seen. This outdated form of thought itself is the reason for the injustices taking place, and the explanation for professional athletes taking a knee and citizens protesting nationwide.