In the midst of nationwide division along racial lines, President Donald Trump is not helping to reconnect our great nation. This time last year, during football season, the San Francisco 49ers Quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, began a silent protest by taking a knee during the singing of the National Anthem. Kaepernick was protesting against not only police brutality, but also the racial injustices here in America. Some other prominent athletes also began to take a knee as well, while others shunned him stating it is disrespectful to our nation and veterans to take a knee during the singing of our Anthem. After last season, Kaepernick was dropped from the 49ers and blackballed from the NFL.
Last week, President Donald Trump spoke at an Alabama rally for Republican Senator Luther Strange and sent tweets out ostracizing any NFL players taking a knee during the National Anthem. He stated, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, you’d say, ‘Get that son of a b***h off the field right now. Out! He’s fired!” He also tweeted, “If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL, or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem. If not, YOU’RE FIRED. Find something else to do!” Many team owners kneeled in unity with their players, while others backed Trump, sending threats of termination to players who chose to protest.
Many opposing the players’ protest are defending their outrage by claiming that it is disrespectful to those fighting for our country and our rights in America.
But isn’t that the point?
They have the right to freedom of expression and protest under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Kneeling to the Anthem and the Flag is not a direct attack at Veterans nor Soldiers fighting for our country, it is a direct attack at the transparent inequalities that the “land of the free” is not supposed to have. It is a direct attack at the racial disparities seen in our criminal justice system. It is a direct attack at the hatred for minorities this country has created a foundation on.
Bottom line is, if you feel angrier about American citizens using their right to protest than you are about police brutality, disparate justice and the salient racial inequalities in America, we as Americans have a major problem.