I’ll be the first to admit that I know nothing about sports, I don’t experience the same amount of racial injustices and I also might be too late addressing this issue but at the very least, I hope to use my voice to help give voice to others.
Recently the trending nationwide controversy is that of national anthem kneeling. On August 26th, Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers sat during the national anthem before the preseason game against the Green Bay Packers. This movement stems from the purpose of bringing attention to racial inequalities and oppressions that exist through peaceful protest.
In the past five weeks, this movement of peaceful protest has spread from coast to coast with 45 NFL players, 14 WMBA players, 1 gold medal swimmer, 1 USWNT soccer player, 17 colleges, 37 high schools, 1 middle school, and 1 youth football team taking a stand by kneeling.
The primary argument of this issue is that it offends soldiers who are fighting for our country. While I do understand how this might offend others, the emotion is displaced. The reality of the issue is that the anthem and the flag aren’t meant to represent the military but rather the freedoms the United States fought to win in 1812 when the song was written, and the flag to represent the land of the free and home of the brave.
One of the freedoms that has been won, the first amendment, allows for us all to exercise the right to free speech, peaceful assembly, and freedom of the press. Athletes such as Kaepernick, are exercising their first amendment right to make a movement through a platform they felt would be the safest and also reach the greatest amount of people.
While this movement has achieved its goal of reaching millions of people, it has come at the high cost of gruesome death threats for these players, including but not limited to–lynching and shooting these players before the national anthem of their next game.
My question to you, isn’t that a greater insult to what our military fights for every day? Imagine sacrificing your life to provide freedom for Americans who want to kill other Americans that are exercising their freedoms to free speech that you fight for every day. I know I can’t.
Bottom line, my heart goes out to both soldiers fighting for our country and blacks living in America right now. Regardless of what side of the argument you’re on, we’re all aiming to make a more just America and we should all be working to make sure American ideals are something that every American doesn’t have to question standing for. The fact that our society has to distinguish that black, blue, or all lives matter in the first place, should be concern enough.