There’s been so much hullabaloo lately about NFL (and other professional and amateur sports team) players, in particular, Colin Kaepernick, kneeling during the playing of their own national anthem before their events.
Many feel this action or form of protest disgraces the national anthem and the country for which it is sung, as well as the team for which those players may play.
But we must take a step back and see different points of view before we judge so harshly the actions of others.
The United States has long defended peaceful protests, even upholding the privilege to do so in their Constitution, together with the freedoms of speech and personal expression.
Looking at it from another point of view, it is also easy to sit in judgment of protesters when you have not been victim of the injustices and unfair treatment being protested in the first place.
From a more practical point of view, consider that a form of protest is likely most effective when in a place like a stadium where tens of thousands of people have their attention fixed on one spot. This is no different to politicians attempting to further their careers by hosting so-called dinners at several hundred dollars a plate. The tickets for such dinners far exceed the cost of tickets to sporting events, yet no one seems to protest the fact that politicians are in effect attempting to buy their votes.
Moreover, how do you stand for a national anthem which you may believe in your heart of hearts no longer has the meaning it originally intended? An anthem which speaks of freedom and justice for all can have little to no meaning for those whose freedoms are denied, let alone those who have not received justice from either the legal system or police enforcement.
It was Voltaire who said, “I disapprove of what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it.”
He also said, “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”
Perhaps we should keep Voltaire’s statement in mind before we judge so harshly those who may disagree with our points of view, lest we suffer the greatest fate of all – REPEATING HISTORY’S MISTAKES.