Why Kneeling is Negative

Marcus Falcomata

What do you think about when you think of Sunday afternoons?  Naps?  Football?  That is all about to change.  Because of protests by football players in the National Football League, Sundays are now set aside for political debate and angry tweeting.  

When I checked Twitter on Sunday, expecting to find something funny to brighten my day, tweets about players sitting, kneeling, and even staying in the locker room for the National Anthem flooded my screen.  Most notably, President Donald Trump commented on the player’s stagnation during the pre-game tradition, suggesting that all who protest during the national anthem be fired.


We have five questions that must be answered here.


  1. Why are the NFL Players doing this?

These protests all began with ex-San Francisco Quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, deciding to kneel for the 2016-2017 season.  In an interview with Kaepernick in April of 2016, he cited his reasons.


People don’t realize what’s really going on in this country. There are a lot of things that are going on that are unjust. People aren’t being held accountable for. And that’s something that needs to change. That’s something that this country stands for freedom, liberty and justice for all. And it’s not happening for all right now.


Here he is talking of systematic racism, which many NFL players also feel strongly about.  They feel that law enforcement has a consistent racial bias, and that police are killing innocent black males with little to no consequences.


Because of this belief, full teams including the Saints, Ravens, and many 49ers, and countless individuals opted out of standing in honoring the nation’s flag.

  1. Is it right for them to do this?

It is certainly disrespectful for players of the NFL to do this.  Many have refuted by citing that kneeling during the national anthem was not considered disrespectful under the US Flag Code.  Supporters of the heroic players also urge the suggestion that the players are not protesting the US flag itself, but rather the racism in the US.  


In truth, it successfully does both.  By sitting for the national anthem, The players are voicing their disapproval of the American system, a system which have truly achieved equality, barring some individual cases.  


However, their protests have clearly succeeded.  It has increased the conversation about systematic racism in America.  The conclusion many have reached after having this conversation is that America is not racist. America believes in equality, and will fight for it with little opposition when it comes on trial.


  1. Are they allowed to do this?


The NFL participants should definitely have the right to voice their criticism of law enforcement, as the First Amendment states.  But their lack of evidence for systematic racism is concerning to me.  They ultimately feel oppressed because of the fear they have generated in their minds.  

This fear primarily stems from their culture historically being oppressed.  African-Americans were clearly oppressed as slaves and in the South before the Civil Rights movement ended much of the systematic racism they were experiencing.


There are certainly numerous examples of systematic racism today in America, but there exists laws preventing racism from occurring without consequence.  Any time a case concerning racism comes to a court, the jury today will always rule against racism if they feel it is true racism.


  1. Was Trump right to say they should be fired?


President Trump is in no place to suggest the firing of football players based on their protests.  It is anti-First Amendment, un-Presidential, and just plain dumb.


It is anti-conservative to suggest that their First Amendment rights should be taken away.  It is detrimental to the image of our country to promote the revocation of freedoms for US citizens.  It is idiotic to turn your back on the right to protest for many, in exchange for the approval of some.


  1. What effect does this all have on our nation?


President Trump’s comments pull many on the right farther over to his side, and push many on the left farther to the other side.  Trump’s people will never leave their mentality that he can do no wrong, and Trump’s biggest opponents will never leave their mentality that he can do no right.  This just exacerbates the issue.


So how does he benefit?  Well, the many NFL fans who disagree with the protest are now going all out with Trump.  The left’s responses to Trump’s comments are largely unreasonable, and these fans know that they oppose those people.  By default, they support Trump.


We have a president that does what he can to keep his people happy, and without cool minds to criticize his statements, we are trending towards a nation divided beyond repair.