I'm a proud American—a patriot. To understand some of the more debatable issues, I like to look at both sides of the story by researching.
Standing during the National Anthem is something we are taught to do from the moment we learn how to walk and talk, but can we justly ridicule those who do not share the same patriotic views?
Since Colin Kaepernick first opted to sit, rather than stand for our National Anthem, the media and political activists have been on a warpath to condemn all those who followed his example. Have we grown so far away from our American roots that we have forgotten what America is all about—freedom?
Here are the top four reasons you cannot blame NFL Players for kneeling during the National Anthem.
1. Colin Kaepernick Decides Not to Stand for a Reason
In several interviews, and even on his Twitter page, Colin Kaepernick stated his reasons for choosing to sit out the National Anthem.
"I’m seeing things happen to people that don’t have a voice, people that don’t have a platform to talk and have their voices heard, and effect change. So I’m in the position where I can do that and I’m going to do that for people that can’t." – Colin Kaepernick
It's not like Kaepernick has anything to personally gain by choosing not to stand. Kaepernick states that he has great respect for the men and women who have served his country, but he will not stand to support a flag that is the symbol of a country that oppresses their minorities. That one statement is enough to explicitly indicate that Kaepernick is not trying to disrespect his country's fallen veterans.
2. Taking a Knee Is Actually a Sign of Respect
After Kaepernick sat out the National Anthem for three straight games, Nate Boyer, a former Green Beret and NFL player, took notice. Boyer wrote an open letter directed towards Kaepernick in the Army Times describing how he felt about Colin's decision to sit during the National Anthem.
A few days after Boyer's letter was published, he and Kaepernick met to discuss the reasons Kaepernick was sitting during the National Anthem. Ultimately, the two agreed on a compromise: instead of sitting, Kaepernick would kneel during the National Anthem.
"Kneeling in front of a fallen soldier's grave is a sign of respect" – Nate Boyer.
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Kaepernick, of course, had no problem kneeling, in lieu of sitting, to show respect for his country's current and fallen soldiers if it meant he could protest his concerns as well. So, in essence, the kneeling that we are seeing more and more players demonstrate actually derives from a very thoughtful, respectful compromise on Kaepernick's behalf that he had no obligation to agree to.
3. NFL Players Are Invoking Their 1st Amendment Rights
Not the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th amendment, but the very first amendment outlined the various freedoms of speech and demonstrations that were allowed to every American. As long as NFL players are not falsely defaming somebody, causing physical harm or damage to property, they are well within their rights as Americans to voice their opinions and kneel, sit, or even lie down during the National Anthem if they so choose.
Berating any individual for their beliefs is the same as censuring them for their religious affiliation or way of life. In other words "Judge not, that ye be not judged" - Matthew 7:1 (KJV).
4. People in Glass Houses Shouldn't Throw Stones
Dating back to the 17th century, this phrase should be a staple in everyone's vocabulary. If you've never heard this quote—and I cannot imagine how you could not have—the underlying meaning is those who are subject to similar or worse persecution for their actions should not start attacking others.
I cannot remember the comedian who said it, but an abstract sample of his monologue is:
"I don't get the big deal with people being offended. It's not like you wake up the next morning after being offended and are sick or dying. Being offended does not hurt you."
Let Us All Be Slow to Anger
In summary, let us all be slow to anger. Let us try to seek explanations and understanding before we decide to condemn others for their beliefs.
Maybe if we could walk in their shoes we would understand how strongly they feel about their beliefs. Are we justified in thinking our beliefs are superior or more logical than others?
I, myself, have and will always stand for our National Anthem. While I do not support their form of protest, I do recognize their right to voice their concerns. I will not be one of the individuals that boycott the NFL for actions they cannot control just because others say I should.
Now that you know their reasons for kneeling, will you be boycotting the NFL for aspects they cannot control? Remember, "One bad apple does not mean the whole barrel is ruined." – Dean Winchester
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.