In recent weeks, the publicity surrounding the National Anthem played before games has become bigger than the actual games.
This all started when San Francisco 49’ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick chose to sit during the National Anthem before a preseason game.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL.com. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
Since being joined by one teammate during the next game, he has since been joined by four teammates.
Through the first couple of weeks in the regular season, players from four other NFL teams have protested the National Anthem by either kneeling or raising their fists in the air.
While protests have been much publicized in the country’s most popular professional sport, they have since reached both the collegiate and high school football ranks.
Players at Indiana State and Tulsa have joined in on the protest.
Garfield High School’s entire football team, their head coach, and his staff are all kneeling during the National Anthem and plan to do so for the rest of the season.
“This came from them,” Thomas told a local Seattle TV station. “This came from the kids. Now don’t get me wrong, I support it 110 percent and that’s where my mind and heart was, but this is what they wanted. And I think that’s what makes this so special. This is student driven.”
Locally, no high school players have taken part in similar protests.
Protesters are mostly on record to saying they are upset with our country because of “social injustice.” While expressing their displeasure, they also have reiterated their support for the men and women who serve in the U.S. military.
In my personal opinion, I think no matter what the protesters say, player’s choosing to protest during the National Anthem are disrespecting the very men and women who have died to give them their First Amendment rights.
The official protocol in 36 U.S. Code 301 says folks should “face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, and men not in uniform, if applicable, should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart.”
While this nation is divided in half politically as evident in past presidential election results, one area our nation normally comes close together is when as part of large crowds hearing the National Anthem or when being led in the Pledge of Allegiance at a government meeting or school event. Now, the division is worse with the start of these protests.
Who knows when it will stop? That being said, Kapernick’s movement might have taken place many years ago if Jackie Robinson had taken a similar stand.
The first black player in major league history once expressed his own feelings about not wanting to stand and sing the National Anthem.
“Today, as I look back on that opening game of my first World Series, I must tell you that it was Mr. Rickey’s drama and that I was only a principal actor,” Robinson wrote in his autobiography, a reference to Branch Rickey, who signed Robinson to play in the majors. “As I write this 20 years later, I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag; I know that I am a black man in a white world. In 1972, in 1947, at my birth in 1919, I know that I never had it made.”