Kneeling During the National Anthem Doesn’t Make You Any Less American than if You Were Standing

It all started last year when Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement and since then hundreds of other players are following suit. It isn’t just the players now either, those singing the national anthem are also kneeling in solidarity after President Trumps most recent tweets went out on his stance on the NFL.

People are losing their minds over this. Fans are burning jerseys and memorabilia, they are boycotting game attendance and bashing these players over social media faster than you and I can blink. They are name calling, shaming them and their families, calling them un-American and just downright being rude.

These people aren’t kneeling in disrespect to the flag or those that fought for this country. They are kneeling for an entirely different reason and we need to be listening. The freedom we have given grants us the rights to in some sense whatever we like as long as we aren’t endangering others. There are some in other countries that don’t have these rights; they don’t have the basic right to make decisions on their own.

You are allowed to get mad and disagree with them because you are given that right. Our rights and freedoms that are outlined in the constitution have to be protected no matter what. I believe that we are all given free will and that this wouldn’t be blown way out of proportion thanks to an overly opinionated President.

Just go back to 2009 when NFL players were never on the field during the national anthem anyways. In hopes to raise recruitment numbers, the Department of Defense and the National Guard paid millions of dollars to the NFL. This then required players to be on the field because it helped with marketing.

After reading President Trump's tweets and shaking my head because there are so many other things he should be focusing his time on I also went and read interviews by some of the players who chose to kneel. Below are just a few snippets from these players, whom not once badmouthed our military or the flag, who instead had other messages to spread.

Von Miller from the Denver Broncos said: "We felt like President Trump's speech was an assault on our most cherished right, freedom of speech." He stated he had huge respect for the military.

Devin McCourty from the New England Patriots, “we wanted to come together and first and foremost we hate that people will see it that we don't respect our military, the men, and women who are way braver than us that go and put their life on the line every day for us to have the right to play football. We know that people will see it that way and guys have family members, fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters that serve and they were really conflicted about it. But we just wanted to send a message of unity and being together. And not stand for the disrespect and the different wants guys felt and so many different things going through guys heads. It was unique to see guys come together and bond together as a group before the game."

Donald Penn of the Oakland Raiders, "I'm not going to do it next week. I didn't want to do it this week. … I respect the military. It had nothing to do with the military. I have the utmost respect for them. Because you will not see me over there shooting no guns. So I have so much respect for those guys and what they do. It had nothing to do with them. I hope they understand that. It had nothing to do with them. This all had to do with President Trump's comments and that's the only reason why we did that."

Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers, We respect our men and women in uniform. We respect our troops. We love them. We appreciate what they do for us. Today was about using our platform to promote love and unity and acceptance and togetherness, and I hope we did that."

Josh Norman from the Washington Redskins, "It's not about the flag, man. We love it. We want to be here. This is our country. We were born here, we were bred here. This is what we're about. Nobody is spitting on the flag or disrespecting it.

These were just a few but none of these guys were doing this to be disrespectful. 

When you hear the national anthem do you stand and put your hand on your heart every single time? I highly doubt when you are sitting in your living room watching the game that you do this. If you don’t it doesn’t make you unpatriotic, it doesn’t mean you’re disrespecting the military.

Perhaps this is a time to listen instead of badmouthing these players or twisting it into something that is going to continue to divide our country. It’s time to shed a light on the issues that these individuals are peacefully protesting against.

It's alright to have your own opinion on the matter because you have that right, just as these gentlemen have the same right to voice their opinion in their own way as well. 

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