By Ethan James, Trending Writer
To me, the flag of the United States stands for the hard-fought fight for democracy. Fought by our brothers in arms, past, present, and future, we seek protection from tyranny, anarchy, and those who wish to destroy the ideals that make America the country we love and call home.
Accompanying the flag, when presented at national events and sporting events, is “The Star Spangled Banner”, is an anthem written by Francis Scott Key, after he watched the brutal massacre of fellow colonists who sacrificed their lives to save the American flag and the meaning it represents. This symbol that to those men and women, stood for freedom, pride, sacrifice and glory.
The emotion attached to what some may consider just a symbol and a song, is what brings forth controversy throughout the NFL. Most famous for kneeling during the national anthem, is Colin Kaepernick. The former, yet unsigned 49ners quarterback sought to protest the racial injustices that he had learned were occurring on the streets of the nation.
Colin Kaepernick is not the last to protest his voice of the injustices that are within the United States, as many more additional athletes have followed him through also kneeling during the national anthem. Among them, the Seahawks, the Cowboys, the Raiders and many more players and teams have taken a knee before or during the national anthem. Even with the possible consequences they may face, players chose to stand in unison, not only against President Trump’s fiery and divisive language, but to show support for fellow NFL members punished for their right to protest and the injustice that some say still plague the nation.
As a fervent believer in American pride, one may understand the emotions behind why controversy exists when kneeling during the national anthem. Yet, freedom of expression and right to protest are guaranteed within the First Amendment of the Constitution.
The message seems to be lost within the calls of disrespect and frustration at such a protest. Within the anthem contains the words, “O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave, O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand.”
The protesters send out a message, how can I stand, “o’er the land of the free” when my fellow countrymen and brethren die in the streets under supposed freedom? How can I stand proudly under a flag that flies “ever when freeman shall stand” as freemen and citizens of the nation lay down in the streets, to stand forever no more?
A cry, taken to the largest field in sports, has been called for the injustices within the nation. Are we to call out those who exercise their rights or are we to answer the call?
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, October 24th print edition.
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