As football season progress on there has been great controversy within the NFL. This is due to the phenomenon that has taking over during the national anthem. The majority of NFL players have taken to “taking a knee” during the National Anthem. This has caused such an uproar among the masses. It’s seen as disrespecting the flag, and the country. I feel that I can share my personal opinion on this subject. I feel that it falls under the question I am constantly being asked – “How do you feel about being told ‘Thank you for your service’?” This new action in the beginning of football games by players (mostly those of color) has fans, owners and Politian’s torn on whether this is a proper and respectful action during the National Anthem. Everyone and their mother has an opinion on this. Those opinions tend to be very passionate on both sides. Might I add are also quite valid.
First, I would like to take a look at the actual action of “taking a knee”. From my point of view, (and I am speaking as a veteran) this action is in no way disrespectful. In a matter of fact, it is an action that was taken to show respect to the fallen. (It’s better than NOT standing at all!). We didn’t invent this. In a matter of fact, it has been used as long as there were servicemen (and now servicewomen) serving. So, I don’t see it as being disrespectful to the flag, country or what we as Americans stand for. Yes, it is expected that one stand for the National Anthem as most countries expect. Which brings up the point of why are they taking this action?
It saddens me to say that in the last eleven months or so there have been a widening racial divide within our country. (Which is a topic I have tried very hard to stay away from. Not because I don’t have an opinion. It’s because I feel there is no reason to further fuel a fire of hate and divide. Yet I have no choice but to address it here.) In the past few years it has been shown and shoved in our faces the violence that has progressed due this racial divide. These actions have been stressed due to modern technology. I am speaking about the wonderful invention of the camera phone. No longer are these types of actions just things that are just witness with the eyes with no substantial evidence. From my point of view, these actions are a way to bring to the attention the continuation of the injustice that have been ongoing since the civil rights movement. Yet has been kept in the dark. Needless to say that I am one of the many that try to avoid this reality for only the reason that I can’t stomach it. I will touch on this a bite more lately.
Now one would think that this would be a welcome realization. Something that we can work together as a nation to fix. Just because that is what we do in the name of liberty and justice. Yet that didn’t go the way one would think. I, like many have to ask why are so many outraged with this form of protest. The sad truth of the matter is how athletes are and have been viewed for decades. Which in this country is pretty sad. As long as they are doing what WE want them to do, the way we want them to do it, all is well. Now as I was talking to a friend that doesn’t share my viewpoint on this topic he brought up a very good point. The type of players (particularly NFL players) have not had a “great” media presence off field. I admit to that – to a point. The key word in my last sentence is “media”. We tend to forget that the media works for ratings and sells. For every one negative news report of an athlete there are ten of them doing something positive for the community or society. Yet this is not what we are seeing displayed in the news. Sad but true. Can’t say anymore on this because that would require a whole new blog post. Not willing to expand on it but with this. Remember when choosing your idols and role models – they are human. They make mistakes. They are educated to a point but every person is accountable for their own decisions and choices. Judge the person. Not the team. Not the sport.
In my personal opinion, (which I know will not be favorable to many) taking a knee is always seen as a form of respect to the fallen. Granted this is usually seen as a form of respect for those that have served. Yet as a veteran I can say the way I see it is that, every citizen serves their country in one way or fashion. That or they will be provided that opportunity eventually in their life. First I think that the back and forth is bringing to light the horrible truth of the racial divide within our nation. A divide that has been ignored for far too long. Fueled by ignorance and miseducation. A cry for help. A cry for change in a positive direction – from both sides. I see taking a knee is a show of respect for those that lost their lives unexpectedly. Now I am not saying that these deaths were racially motivated. More like fear motivated. Fear of not being knowing enough about the other side. I do not take offence nor do I find it offensive that NFL players take a knee during the National Anthem. We as a country have been wounded. We need to heal. For real this time. I understand that this opinion will not be taken very well. I accept that. I do not have any children. So I will never have that police officer knock on my door and tell me that my child was accidentally killed because someone found them as a threat. To those that had that done, my heart goes out to you. (Every ounce of it.)
I hope that this country that this country that I have served for can come together to heal. I hope that this take a knee campaign can bring just that. Despite the opposition that have arisen in the mist of it. We as a nation set the example for the world. It’s time that we rise up to the challenge.