July 25, 2024

National Football League players are taking a knee during the patriotic national anthem that plays before every game to raise awareness for injustices in the country.

While some Americans have rallied behind those players, and the issues they are kneeling for, others have taken great offense to their beloved country being disrespected during a public display of patriotic loyalty.

The people who are against this type of protest have expressed their unhappiness by burning season tickets to their beloved football team, quitting their jobs working for the NFL, and openly discussing their outrage on social media.

Even President Donald J. Trump tweeted, “Sports fans should never condone players that do not stand proud for their national anthem or their country. NFL should change policy!” Sept. 24 after this issue became consistent during Sunday football games.

Please don’t hear me wrong; I am blessed to have been born in this country with so many freedoms and rights for its citizens. I have had ample opportunities to be educated, speak my mind, and believe what I choose to believe. I love this country.

However, we need to remember that we are not required to be solely loyal to this country or even to its leaders. While there is nothing wrong with loving where we live, our first concern, as American citizens, should be for the people we share this country with them.

Colin Kaepernick, former 49ers quarterback, started this protest in the 2016-2017 season to raise awareness for the injustices happening in America, that he believed was unacceptable.

In an “NFL Media” interview, Kaepernick stated, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”

Bottom line, America is just a country and an idea. So why are some people so dedicated to protect it at the cost of other people?

We need to question what we are actually standing for when we say kneeling during the national anthem is wrong. Are we standing up for our country or are we further oppressing the people who are continuing to be hurt by this country?

We should not be defending America’s long-held traditions if it also means we are not standing by and working to end injustices for those who are oppressed and mistreated.

While honoring traditions is important, it should not take precedence over other people’s well-being and lives. I ask you to thoroughly discern what you are standing, or kneeling, to defend.

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