There is an action sweeping across the National Football League (NFL) which has brewed up a proverbial storm. Kneeling during the national anthem has become a way for some NFL players to protest racial inequality in the U.S. I do not know anyone who argues that there is not racism in our world today. In fact, I believe it is a part of the fallen world in which we live. Today, a major question confronts us: “Is kneeling during the national anthem the best way to protest?”
As a lifelong college football fan, I have recently started to watch more NFL games as more and more South Eastern Conference (SEC) football players have been drafted. I am of the conviction that protesting during the national anthem causes more division in America than unity. My view was reaffirmed just a few days ago as I watched the Arizona Cardinals and the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night. The boos could be heard resonating through the speakers of the television as players started to kneel before the national anthem.
Why do so many NFL fans disapprove of players kneeling? After all, racism is an ugly truth. I cannot speak for everyone who is disgusted by players kneeling during the national anthem. However, I can propose a few reasons why I personally disapprove. Firstly, I view kneeling during the national anthem as an affront to the men and women who have served in the military to defend the opportunities we have in America today. Both of my grandfathers were members of the military, and it is so sad to see young men in their 20s and 30s disrespecting the flag for which my grandfathers were willing to die.
Secondly, there is actually a code in the United States regarding the proper conduct during the national anthem. When speaking to the behavior of citizens when the flag is displayed, the Code states: “During the rendition of the national anthem, all other persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over their heart, and men not in uniform, if applicable, would remove their headdress.”
Ultimately, to me, kneeling during the national anthem is 100 percent an issue of respect. The thousands of men and women who have paid the price to defend freedom should not have to be sickened by the sight of young men kneeling during the national anthem. I realize that not everyone concurs with my view on this issue. The national anthem is a sacred time in which we remember the sacrifices made by those before us. Likewise, it should be a time of reaffirmation of our commitment to their goal of protecting the freedoms we enjoy. On Jan. 5, 1967, Ronald Reagan reminded us: “Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people.”
Written by Noah Styles