As the new NFL season approaches, the issue of kneeling during the anthem is still prevalent. However, just how much damage will this continue to do? Both for players and the league, will this issue ever be resolved?
American football is in a precarious place these days. While still the most successful and popular sport in America, ratings are trending downward. Along with the anthem protests, the NFL now faces stiff competition. In particular, from the NBA. Widely considered America’s most inclusive league, the NBA often encourages its players to voice their opinions and show their emotions. Unfortunately, the NFL has shown little of that acceptance. The cause of said problem? Kneeling during the anthem.
The issue of kneeling began famously with football’s favorite scapegoat, Colin Kaepernick. The issue first came up after a series of brutal actions by police officers around the country. However, this issue only intensified after the election of President Donald Trump. Since his election, the country has seen quite the divide in opinion. All the while violence and racism has increased during that time span.
This is where I give you, the readers, my personal take on the matter. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and this is my opinion. Ready? Lets roll.
In the realm of sports, many people from around the globe come together for one common goal. To win. The beauty of sports is how it can unite. There are several examples. One of my favorite examples occurred after the Boston Bombings. In 2013, the city of Boston was struck with the marathon bombings. During this time, Baseball had just returned, and the NBA playoffs were underway. In a gorgeous display of leadership, two of Boston’s iconic sports figures rallied the city together. David Ortiz and Paul Pierce.
For those who need a reminder of how powerful his speech was, take a look at this:
Pierce and the Celtics organization also did the same. These acts of leadership and kindness are what sports do best. In good times and bad, they unite us. Another example comes courtesy of my hometown Houston Rockets. Santa Fe High School unfortunately suffered through a school shooting, among the many that have occurred recently. However, Chris Paul sent a message to all of Houston. If even for a moment, Game 5 certainly brought H-town together.
So much love and support came from Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta. As a matter of fact, the entire senior class attended the game for free. Even famous Houston rapper Travis Scott sent a message to them.
However, the NFL seems to forget what sports is about. Uniting. Often times, sports are a getaway of sorts for people. In fact, it proves to be an escape for its employees also. Unfortunately, the NFL has been plagued by this back and forth battle about kneeling. Once the league made a big deal out of it, the problem grew. Quite honestly, while I am all for respecting the flag, I also respect other people’s opinions.
Hear me out. While I personally believe in standing for the anthem, I also believe in free speech wholeheartedly. In fact, it’s the backbone of this nation. A true American doesn’t judge his brother. He respects his compatriot. Another great example is how everyone came together post 9/11. Indeed, that was a beautiful display of unity. However, the NFL has lost touch with that word. Unity.
Yes, by all means respect the flag. Respect this great country. Because it truly is the land of opportunity. However, as Americans, let’s not forget our ability to love and respect. Kneeling for the anthem, in my opinion, is a form of free speech. As a matter of fact, an acceptable action. Kneeling is harmless. Burning the flag is a travesty, and a more punishable offense.
In other words, the issue of kneeling has greatly hurt the game of football. In fact, in a way, it’s torn the country apart. We can’t simply talk about football anymore. Some even refuse to watch an NFL game. The buzz around football is no longer the same. While I still love my Houston Texans, football has been rather difficult to watch. I’m sure many others share the same feelings as I do.
So what has kneeling done to the game? In a way, it’s ruined the game. It’s no longer “how many touchdowns will they score.” Rather, now it’s “how many players are kneeling during today’s pregame ceremony?” And to be quite frank, the President doesn’t help. Instead of taking to twitter to denounce the players, why doesn’t he try to find a solution to the violence and racism still alive today? Arguing on twitter is childish if you ask me. However, there are other ways to help.
We as fans can create change. Yes, stand for the anthem. Respect our beautiful flag. Continue kneeling for what you believe in. Voice your opinions. Basically, respect one another. While I personally wouldn’t kneel during the anthem, I respect my brother for voicing his opinion. Roger Goodell if you ever read this, promote change and support your players. Adam Silver is a leading example. Again, respect the flag, but be allowed to voice your opinions.
This, my fellow readers, is where I stand. We are a beautiful nation of many backgrounds. Don’t allow kneeling to tear us apart. But don’t lose sight of others opinions, and respect them. Promote change, not hate.