Sports have always been considered as an arena where people go and they try to express themselves. It is one of the prime reasons that sports has gained such a massive following in the United States due to the fact that it allows people from diverse background to come together. Now, creating political statements have always been a controversial practice in sports. There had been many instances where athletes have used the broader sports platform that game has provided them to their advantage and have tried to show their motivation towards a cause. United States athlete has created their fair share of the political statements and controversial gestures. And it has remained a controversial practice. From the instant black players expressed their disapproval to the racial policies that were carried out in the 1970’s in the Olympics. Since then, any sort of protest against the policy making and legislation has always been witnessed as either false bravado or these athletes are heralded as hero. In this paper, it would be seen that how recent NFL protest when they kneeled during the national anthem is going to be looked at. There is nothing wrong with voicing one’s opinion and if one looks at the things in context, then it can be seen that how they are affecting the certain community.
Current Debate on Kneeling at National Anthem
It was all started by Colin Kaepernick as he had ignited the huge debate as he knelt when the national anthem was being plagued. With the passage of time, as there are strong opinions on the either side, both the parties are not taking any bulge during the whole activity. Colin Kaepernick protested against the racial injustice as well as the increased instances of police brutality in the United States. Not everyone though was really impressed with the way the protest was carried out. In case of any sporting event, the important thing is to make sure that whatever the outside circumstances are, they have to make sure that they do not distract themselves form the task in hand. The other issue in hand is that what the standing of the athlete at any given point of time. By kneeling to the national anthem, they are not going to get the sort of results that they are after neither it improves their long term standing in the eyes of the sports enthusiast.
Why So Much Focus
One of the reasons that the athletes kneeling to the national anthem is creating such uproar is due to the fact that the nationalist environment that one gets to see in the current context. The key consideration that people are feeling that as people are kneeling to national anthem, it goes against the sanctity of the national anthem. People are aggrieved that how the nationalistic identity of the country is being compromised due to open act of defiance against national anthem. The protest in itself has not been criticized that much due to the fact that how the racial and ethnic climate is going on at the moment. The main issue is that how people are reacting towards the way overall protest has been carried out in the given time period to say the least.
Rationale Presented by People who refuse to Stand up During National Anthem
One of the key reasons that are being given by the athletes they are not standing for the anthem is the fact that how these athletes are well within their rights to use their celebrity status towards drawing their attention towards it. According to the protesters, the main thing that has to be kept in mind is that when someone is kneeling to the national anthem. Not only it is a sign of a protest in a really powerful manner, one can say these things really send an emphatic statement. In the democratic society, it is very important for all the members to make sure that in the wake of the disagreement, they do not lose their composure. Kneeling to the national anthem is an effective method of protest that allows the people to engage in a meaningful debate without resorting to violence.
Kneeling and Legal Form of Protest
The key thing that is needed to be looked at is the way legislation and constitution views it. It has to be noted that as per the First Amendment, the right to protest is deemed as one of the basic human rights of the person. In their defense, they are just exercising the constitutional right that they have been given. The right to recognized and the individual to express them is one of the building blocks of the constitution. As per them, people who are claiming this practice to be an insult to the American flag, then the counter argument by them is that it merely shows the respect that they have for their users.
In the hindsight, it can be said that the kneeling during the narration of the national anthem is something that is not very controversial that it is made out to be. These people are protesting against some of the thing that in the society that are wrong at the broader level and rather than creating any nuisance, they are registering their protest in a poignant manner. As a matter of fact, they are using their constitutional right for the protest and by excercising their right in the appropriate manner, they have indeed set a good precedent.
Belson, Ken. “Goodell and NFL: Owners Break From Players on Anthem Kneeling Fight” nytimes.com, 10/10/2017.
Casteel, Kathryn. “How Do Americans Feel About the NFL Protests” fivehthirtyeight.com, 10/9/2017.https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/how-do-americans-feel-about-the-nfl-protests-it-depends-on-how-you-ask/
Ehrliich, Robert. “Out of Touch Kneeling NFL Players Are Starting to Ruin Emotional Attachment to Football” washingtonexaminer.com, 10/15/2017. http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/out-of-touch-kneeling-nfl-players-are-starting-to-ruin-emotional-attachment-to-football/article/2637585
Lewis, Nicole. “The NFL and the First Amendment” washingtonpost.com 10/5/2017. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2017/10/05/the-nfl-and-the-first-amendment-a-guide-to-the-debate/?utm_term=.c33fdbe4ff8d
Reid, Eric. “Eric Reid: Why Colin Kaepernick and I Decided to Take a Knee” nytimes.com, 9/25/17.https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/09/25/opinion/colin-kaepernick-football-protests.html