NFL has decided to kneel to political pressure

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Let me start by saying I believe myself to be a very patriotic person. My dad was drafted by the military in the late 60s and served 18 months in Germany. That is one of many reasons that when the National Anthem is played you will see me standing at attention to the flag with my right hand over my heart and my hat off.

I have been to countless high school sporting events here in Arkansas and various other sporting events in Oklahoma and other states as well. It always pains me when I see the young and old alike talking, texting or eating when the National Anthem is being played. If you look around, you are bound to see at least five or six people doing this very thing. To me, this is just as offensive as kneeling with no just cause whatsoever. I would never be able to bring myself to kneel for the National Anthem, but our American flag represents many freedoms and rights. And one of those rights is to protest peacefully.

The media has made it out to be so much more, but Colin Kaepernick first took a knee during the National Anthem in a 2016 preseason game because, "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color."

Whether you agree or disagree with Kaepernick's opinion on why he knelt is irrelevant. The relevant question is if he should have the freedom to continue doing this. Ultimately, Kaepernick wasn't deemed a good enough quarterback to compete in the NFL and has since been tossed aside by the league. Others stepped up in his place last year, though and kept the debate alive.

That debate came to an abrupt end on Tuesday, though, when the NFL decided to pass a unanimous rule stating that players and team personnel will be unable to show any type of protest during the National Anthem. If someone does so, teams will be subject to a fine from the league. Players and team personnel are allowed to stay in the locker room if they wish, however.

The league calls this a compromise, but it made this rule without even talking to the National Football League Players Association. If players or team personnel begin staying in the locker room while the National Anthem is played, people will contend that they are showing disrespect toward the flag. Again, this isn't what Kaepernick wanted this to be about.

There wasn't a way the NFL could come out making everyone happy in this, but the league did have a chance to take the lead in giving players a voice when it comes to social activism. Instead, the league decided to take a knee by silencing its players and ultimately making things worse than they already were.

Ty Loftis is the Sports Editor of the Carroll County News. His email address is CCNSports@cox-internet.com

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