Here’s a fun challenge: ask 100 random people their opinion of NFL players taking a knee during the National Anthem. I say the odds are good that you’ll actually get 100 opinions. Or at least somewhere in the upper 90s (I’ll leave my speculation about how many ‘goldfish’ exist in any given group of 100 people for a different day).
One thing is certain – Americans are passionate about this issue – regardless of whether they watch the NFL or not. I’m no different. I have an opinion, and I’m about to share it with you. Am I going political here? Call it what you want, but I say no – I’m going logical. I just want to lend a little clarity on the subject, the way I see it.
But It’s Simply a Peaceful Protest, Not Disrespect
I read a comment recently that the NFL kneel-down is simply a form of peaceful protest, not disrespect. I disagree. Let’s take a look at that line of thinking.
Think about the National Anthem, and think about those words – you should know them – “Oh Say can you see…”. They’re all about the flag, and its representation of who we are as a nation. Every line in the Star-Spangled Banner is about the persistence of our flag – in times of war and incredible loss of life:
“And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air – gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.”
Our National Anthem is about the unconquerable spirit that makes America what it is, and that spirit is represented by our flag. It’s about honoring the brave men and women who fought to their very last breath to protect the idea that no matter what, Americans will fight to the end to protect the thing that we value above all else – our freedom. During times of war, we even have people responsible for keeping Old Glory aloft. It’s that important.
The Anthem is also about honoring the men and women who survived the horror of war, our living veterans. They also sacrificed their lives in a way, because things they witnessed, unimaginable to the rest of us, will be with them forever. For many of them, what they went through defines who they are. They deserve honor, and they deserve our respect.
If you’ve never stopped for a minute to consider the symbolic meaning of the Star-Spangled Banner, now is the time. Just let it soak in for a minute. Now, hold that thought while we go briefly down a different path. We’ll come back here in a minute.
Is it Black Lives Matter, or Trump The Racist?
Remember the Wall Street protests a few years ago? When it started, nobody even knew what was being protested and it took months for any kind of coherent message to emerge. It was just a bunch of rioting people, many of them brought in on buses, throwing rocks through windows and yelling about the ‘one percent.’ I guess they were mad at people who worked and had any money. That message is still a little fuzzy.
It almost feels like the same thing happening here. People are angry and they want to be heard, but the message is beginning to shift. The taking of a knee during the Anthem began, as I see it, as a show of solidarity for the Black Lives Matter movement. Recently though, various media channels are suggesting it’s some sort of protest of our President because he’s racist. Who knows? I still think it’s the former.
So Find a Veteran, and Poke Him in the Eye
Now let’s go back to what the Flag and the Anthem symbolize. No matter what you think of the BLM movement or the President of our country, the following applies: Connecting either of those things to protesting during the National Anthem is one of the most profoundly stupid mental leaps a person could ever make. And I wish I had a stronger word than stupid.
A Direct Message to the NFL Knee-Takers
If I’m not mistaken, Black Lives Matter is about alleged, out-of-control racism in police departments, isn’t it? So why then, if that’s the issue, why would you choose a completely unrelated thing to protest? Especially something as sacred as our national symbol. And why would you choose to dishonor and disrespect the veterans who are not connected in any way to your issue? Didn’t you stop to think about it before you took a knee? Did it not occur to you that black and white people alike ignored color and race and fought side-by-side to defend our ideals? Did you think about that, or were you just doing the same thing as the big dumb oaf beside you?
Somebody help me connect the dots here, because I can’t do it. Why the National Anthem? Why not protest at some other point during the game – some gesture as you come onto the field or at halftime? How about a big prominent BLM tattoo of solidarity? I’ll tell you why – and this is strictly my own opinion – it’s because you aren’t very smart. You’re just an enormous piece of meat with eyes, and not much in the way of brains. You’re an overpaid snowflake on steroids. You may be physically tough, but I’d wager you don’t have the mental toughness to handle what our veterans went through for even five minutes. And now you want to insult them by refusing to stand while real Americans stand and pay them respect? How dare you.
Again, it’s just my opinion, but if you’re one of the NFL meatheads who took a knee, here’s what you should do right away:
- Admit your mistake and apologize to our veterans immediately.
- Apologize to every military service member in the country, and be more respectful from now on.
- Get an education – read a history book and try to understand better what this country is about and what our flag represents. Get some help with the understanding part, if needed.
- Figure out a different way to protest and make your message clear, but do it in a way that actually makes sense. Get some help with the figuring out part, if needed.
- Take a part of your average $2.5 Million annual salary, and donate it to a veteran’s organization. Get some help with the counting, if needed.
Here’s the bottom line, tough guy: You’ve clearly chosen the wrong way to get your message out, because there’s no connection. Instead of rallying people to your corner, you pissed them off. Anybody can take a knee, but are you tough enough to make an apology and do the right thing?