Tag Archives: national anthem

The 1st Amendment in Danger from the World of Sports

Baltimore Ravens players kneel during the National Anthem – photo from ABC News

For some time now there has been a great deal of controversy in the National Football League (NFL) over players taking a knee during the National Anthem. Started by Colin Kapernick in protest of the many of African Americans that were and are being killed by police officers, it is a form of protest that has gain a lot of traction and has since gain national attention thanks to the twitter rants of our so called President, Mr. Trump. Trump has even gone so far as to suggest that any NFL player who takes a knee should be fired. Unfortunately, this idea has also gained some traction.

There has been talk among the members of the NFL of actually making it a rule that all players must stand during the National Anthem, or else be fired. This is in blatant disregard of the player’s 1st Amendment rights to peaceful protest and it shows just how far people are willing to go to enforce their own ideals on people and to ignore the racist and dehumanizing treatment that African Americans and other people of color face in this country. Here’s the thing, the reason why players are taking a knee is to protest the treatment of African Americans in this country, not to disrespect the flag, or the troops, or what it is supposed symbolizes, but many people want to draw attention away from the real issue and make a big fiasco out of the actual act, so no one will pay attention to the real issue. The people who are angry at the players, like Trump is, are more concerned with a piece of cloth then with the lives of actual human beings.

There is nothing special about this piece of fabric. The patriotism, values, and freedoms it represents are not magically imbued into it nor does it go away if it gets disrespected. It is funny how so many people get so angry and lose their minds over a piece of cloth and their own self-absorbed beliefs, but black children and adults can get systematically murdered, abused, and discriminated against but they don’t bat an eye. Instead, they rather hyper fixate on the players taking a knee and impose a rule of forced patriotism. Except, it is not patriotism. When patriotism is forced and you take away the rights of the people to protest, it is not patriotism, that is called fascism.

Political Trouble in the World of Sports

There have been several days of controversy and criticism since NBA player Stephen Curry suggested he would vote against accepting Trump’s invitation to the White House. When Trump heard about this development, he decided to un-invite the entire Warriors basketball team and has since sent out a number of tweets regarding both the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Football League (NFL). The latter is the result of Trump’s comments that NFL players should be fired for taking a knee during the National Anthem and the resulting protests from NFL teams such as the Steelers.

Stephen Curry – Photo from NBA.com

The Steelers decided to remain inside of the locker room during the performance of the National Anthem. The head coach of the Steelers, Mike Tomlin, stated that he did not want the team to feel divided and that, essentially, he wanted the team to stay out of the politics going on. However, being absent during the Anthem is something of a political statement in and of itself.

Trump has stated, both at his rally in Alabama and on Twitter, that he believes anyone who does not stand up or takes a knee during the Anthem should be fired. He has also stated on Twitter that the games have been losing viewers because they are “boring” but people would keep watching if the NFL teams were loyal to the U.S. That being said, Trump is probably not the best person to give commentary on how viewership has increased or decreased for sports teams. Or in a position to really give any commentary at all. What the President has to do with a NFL game or NBA team is unknown, especially when he has more serious matters to attend to. Regardless of what Trump says, and in fact because of it, many players and teams are now making a stand and/or protesting, such as a number of players at the Jaguars and Ravens game in London. Perhaps it is time to listen to what other people have to say about why they are protesting, instead of threatening them.