Taking a knee? The NFL Controversy
Point- Counterpoint Isabel Vs William
September 29, 2017
Trump Misses the Point (again)
Here are some things I like about America: we are not a military state nor a dictatorship; freedom of symbolic speech is a protected right that is admirably exercised; and political participation is encouraged within citizens. Based on these principles, Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling is anything but ‘un-American,’ as our President and his white nationalist supporters claim. Reignited by an assault of tweets from @realDonaldTrump, Kaepernick’s protest against racism is once again being falsely rebranded into a protest against America, specifically disrespecting military service members. Whether the President and his supporters like it or not, his statements are going to be viewed by millions and be viewed as important due to his political position. Despite Trump’s demands that kneeling players be fired, the act itself is a “respectful gesture” like “a flag flown at half mast,” according to player Eric Reid who knelt with Kaepernick.
Pledging allegiance is not and should not be what determines how American someone is, nor is it an automatic indicator of military respect since it is a flag of a democratic nation, not one of a military dictatorship. Recognizing the societal issues in America and utilizing a form of peaceful protest in an effort to make this country better is about as American as you can get since you are actually participating in the evolution of the nation rather than insisting on its perfection. Some claim that the pledge is an act of unity among citizens which could be interpreted as an appreciation of how far America has come, rather than a blind endorsement of the nation’s state. While this definition is optimistic, and perhaps for some good Americans true, the fact that our President’s campaign slogan was “Make America Great Again” indicates that a substantial amount of Americans believe that the civil rights movements, environmental awareness, and political movements that have taken us to where we are today have only made America worse.
So why are they so upset about a black man kneeling during the pledge? Is it because it raises awareness about the institutionalized racism and police brutality that has resulted in many innocent deaths and struggles for African Americans across the nation? Whether the ignorant mob realizes it or not, that is what Kaepernick and other players are protesting. By attacking and misinterpreting the meaning of protest, they are distracting from the validity of race issues in America and disrespecting the lives lost due to hatred. In kneeling in front of a crowd of thousands and on the television screens of thousands more, Kaepernick uses his position as an NFL football player to more effectively draw attention to a pressing issue in America. Racism in America is not something that should be swept under the rug and avoided, or treated as an imaginary problem. As a society, it is important that we are aware of injustices in order to make a better America. The argument that American politics has a time and place is completely invalid when applied to football; if you can pledge allegiance in a stadium, you can remind those that racism still exists in America.
Trump is right (again) on the NFL
Over the past weekend, the pro-football world became embroiled in political controversy surrounding players kneeling for the national anthem at the beginning of the game. During last year’s football season, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick decided to sit or take a knee for our country’s national anthem in the name of “racial inequality.” At the time, this move was debated by the talking heads of the mass media, yet was allowed to continue by the NFL. Since Trump’s election–and the continued heightened racial and social tensions perpetuated by the liberal media–more football players have followed suit in not standing for the national anthem. With all of the news and events happening in the country over the past several months, this issue has taken a backburner in the list of controversies. Over the past weekend, Trump brought the spotlight back to those unpatriotic and disrespectful players by stating that in his opinion, NFL owners should fire those that take an action to disrespect the national anthem and those fighting for our nation. The response from sports officials and players were predictable; mostly PR focused statements that denounce Trump’s position and include a mention of ‘division,’ with the exception of leftist basketball players LeBron James and Steph Curry. Trump continued to tweet about the NFL, specifically the vast response from the players on this issue, describing the NFL’s low ratings and the crowd’s response to the team kneeling for the anthem.
The mainstream (fake news) media, and a majority of the liberal elite in this country jumped to their favorite conclusion on anything and everything Trump (or anything else for that matter): racism. Immediately following Trump’s Alabama rally, CNN and MSNBC were complaining that this “does not help the president’s race problem,” whatever that means. Talking heads took time away from the crisis in Puerto Rico, as well as the major GOP health care push, to chide Trump because he denounced some disrespectful and unpatriotic NFL players who happen to be black. Nowhere in Trump’s Alabama speech did he mention the race of the players, nor did he say or act as if he would use the power of the government to do anything about these players. He simply gave the right opinion that he disapproves of the players disrespecting the American flag and the national anthem, and it does not matter what color or creed that player is. The problem here for liberals is that the American people agree with him. According to a scientific poll taken by the Remington Research group, 64 percent of Americans agree that players should stand for the national anthem.
As with many of the statements Trump makes, this one has surely been over-blown and disproportionately covered by the media. But the reality of the situation is that he made a statement that a majority of Americans agree with, and did not once mention race. I would feel just as angered at a white athlete disrespecting our flag and nation as I would a black athlete. In the end, the response by the media was very predictable. Its goal at this point is to completely destroy the Trump administration in the court of public opinion, and will not stop trying, unless conservatives and Republicans can unite and fight back. This relentless degradation of an administration by the supposedly free press is caustic to the welfare of our country.