Disrespecting anthem in protest only creates more problems

By JAMES PHILLIPS,

The 2018 NFL football season is set to kickoff tomorrow night and as the new season readies to start the biggest issue being talked about has nothing at all to do with football. It has nothing to do with wins-and-losses, potential playoff runs, roster moves or what players will outperform others during the season. The most talked about topic concerning the NFL is the players that continually choose to disrespectfully kneel in protest during the playing of the national anthem and the presentation of the American Flag.

Since its beginning, football has been a team sport that brings people together and offers players and fans alike the ability to mentally escape from the rigors of life for a few hours through the enjoyment of pure athletic competition. The decision of these players to use the NFL pregame as their venue for ongoing protest is threatening this time of enjoyment by forcing fans and players to pick a side as divisiveness has again invaded what was once pure and simple enjoyment.

I believe that every individual has the right to protest as they see fit, but I do believe that this protest was poorly thought out as it has brought about disunion rather than bringing attention to alleged issues of mistreatment. Also, I find it ironic that these players choose to protest by disrespecting the American flag and “Star Spangled Banner” which are the most identifiable symbols of freedom, the very freedoms they are exercising in their bended knee protest. To me, it is just like burning the American flag in protest which makes no logical sense. How do you intentionally disrespect, desecrate and/or destroy the most revered American symbol of freedom in angst.  

NFL players have a very strong platform as it pertains to fans and children that look up to them and want to emulate them as they grow up. When they watch their athletic heroes on television disrespecting our nation’s greatest symbol and the “Star Spangled Banner” they will copy these individuals even though they have no idea as to what’s behind their actions.

That is why you see kneeling during the anthem spreading throughout the country from children that are far too young to understand what they are doing. They are simply copying the disrespectful actions portrayed by these players simply because they idolize the player for their on-field accomplishments, and this starts a wave of disrespect by children that we are attempting to teach the life lesson of respect.

The “Star Spangled Banner” is an ode to survival and these beautiful words put to music explain the endurance and persistence held within Americans and especially Americans working together for a common goal. These misguided protests are disrespecting the song that explains survival, hope and the expectations that Americans will always persist and ward off those who attempt to take the freedoms our forefathers fought and died earning and protecting.

Their kneeling is actually freedom of speech in action, but what exactly is it saying about the protesters. To me it indicates that these individuals are willing to disrespect our nation’s most respected traditions and honors in order to bring attention to a societal issue and are doing so underneath the blanket of freedom identified by the flag and the national anthem. 

I want to be clear that I support each of these individuals right to protest because they are exercising freedom of speech that is afforded to all U.S. citizens. I truly don’t understand the logic of their actions. When your actions are viewed as disrespectful and your protests bring about divisiveness they are creating new tensions in our country rather than pointing out perceived problems and alleged mistreatment.

By kneeling during our countries honoring song, and disrespecting Old Glory, these players have created new social problems and to my knowledge that is not the intent of well-conceived protest. It is clear that the players have now gotten most everyone’s attention by, and through, their actions, but what are they going to do now. Now that they have the attention they so badly wanted it is time to stop disrespecting the national anthem, and everyone that so dearly respects it. It is time to get off their bended knees and stand up and do something rather than continuing to kneel in silence.