Okay, no fancy pics or cool links, just uncut, unvarnished opinion.
This NFL anthem ruling:
I am sure I have touched on this before, after the initial “scandal” of Kaepernick kneeling for the national anthem, and I know people on both sides of this “anthem” debate. I have heard people say “it’s a job, and you follow the rules of the job or suffer the consequences.” I have heard, said, and still agree with the idea that freedom of speech does not guarantee freedom from consequence. However, I would say there are a few important questions or ideas we need to acknowledge in regards to this debate.
1) Where do we draw the line between “consequences” of free speech at one’s job and one’s job violating one’s rights? For instance,a person’s job could put anything they want in the handbook, and the employees can sign that handbook. But that changes nothing in regards to actual law. A company can’t violate worker rights just because it’s in their handbook and workers theoretically “agree” to it. To relate this to the current issue, the opinion that “if you play for the NFL you agree to stand for the anthem” is suspect at the least, because, in my opinion. forced patriotism is only one step less tacky (and unconstitutional) as forced religion. But I guess that’s what we have to nail down. Are forced expressions of patriotism unconstitutional?
Secondly, I understand patriotism and love of country is an important issue for many, but I disagree with idea that because someone chooses this as a form of protest, it means they intend to disrespect their country, veterans, etc. I have quite a bit of military family and friends, so I would not take disrespect to them lightly. A lot of the veterans I have encountered claim they “fight” for the country, not the flag, and they fight for a man’s right to “kneel” even if they don’t agree with it. THAT is freedom. But for all the people determined that protesters and those of us who support them are intent on disrespecting vets, the second pertinent question in regards to this topic for me is,
2) WHY are so many people more riled up about “disrespect to the flag” (an inanimate object) than the disrespect to the people that are part of the make up the country which the flag supposedly represents? Maybe if more people were as vocal about cases of police brutality as they are about players kneeling, this would not even be an issue. I have an idea why…but I doubt there’d be any more people willing to cop to it than there are the existence of white privilege. But if people who say “Well, you can protest, just do it another time” aren’t a perfect example of white privilege, I am not sure what is. To think we have the right to tell someone else when they should protest about something that doesn’t affect us, (blissfully unconcerned by the possibility that we could be shot or beaten to death by a cop on a routine traffic stop or call out) is a shame.