It is curious that President Trump and others are so upset at football players taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem. These football players are making a symbolic statement by kneeling during the anthem, showing no disrespect for the flag, while saying that there is racism in this country.
In fact President Trump has called all NFL players who demonstrate in such a peaceful way SOB’s, and claiming that they should be immediately fired for demonstrating. As William Shakespeare was prone to say, He protests too much. It would be Un-American to fire someone for peacefully demonstrating. Maybe he thinks that today’s players are for all intents and purposes today’s slaves, put on stage to entertain us, but perish the thought that they might actually be able to think and talk at the same time.
How soon we have forgotten about how our ancestors protested many years ago in the days that proceeded the American Revolution. The most obvious example was the Boston Tea Party. Residents of Boston dressed up as Indians and walked down to Boston Harbor, to a ship that held tea. In an illegal act, these men took the tea that did not belong to them and threw it into Boston Harbor. They clearly broke the law by wrongfully obtaining someone else’s tea. But no one these days has any problem with what happened that day.
The whole revolution was started by protests against what some of the colonists viewed as acts of King George that the King decreed without their consent as Englishmen. Taxation without representation was a popular saying in those days of so long ago.
I have a feeling that if the Tea Party would happen today, some of the owners in the NFL and Trump would want to side with the loyalists and tar and feather the law breakers.
If the protests today were being done by white football players the reaction might be different. The players who are protesting racial injustice are primarily black. My fellow Americans, protests are as American as apple pie.
Some owners have shown an allegiance to President Trump and have laid down the law to their players that if they take a knee during the anthem they will be fired. Jerry Jones has taken such a stand.
It is the right of every American to take a knee if they want to. Our First Amendment and the 14th Amendment give us the right to take a knee. In the past, especially in a much more emotional way, a Mr. Johnson burnt the flag at the end of the Republican Convention in the 1980’s. The Supreme Court held that it was Johnson’s right as a form of symbolic speech to burn the flag.
The flag vote by the court included an affirmative vote by of all people Justice Scalia. It is instructional to repeat what Justice Kennedy said about burning the flag in his concurrent opinion.
“For we are presented with a clear and simple statute to be judged against a pure command of the Constitution. The outcome can be laid at no door but ours. The hard fact is that sometimes we must make decisions that we do not like. We make them because they are right, right in the sense that the law and the Constitution, as we see them, compel the result. And so great is our commitment to the process that except in the rare case, we do not pause to express distaste for the result, perhaps for fear of undermining a valued principle that dictates the decision. This is one of those rare cases.
Though symbols often are what we ourselves make of them, the flag is constant in expressing beliefs that Americans share, beliefs in law and peace and that freedom which sustains the spirit. The case here today forces recognition of the costs to which those beliefs commit us. It is poignant but fundamental that the flag protests protect those who hold it in contempt.”
Burning a flag is much more dramatic and in fact it is an act of contempt. The NFL players are only kneeling peacefully to make their protests known. To peacefully protest is an American value more important to protect than a mere playing of the national anthem.
NFL Commissioner, Goodell and the NFL owners are taking a lot of heat from advertisers. The powers that be in our country, the haves, find this whole idea of protesting troubling with their biggest advertiser Busch, having an image problem with the protests. But in spite of the problem of image that Busch has, Goodell promises to maintain the current NFL policy.
Money in today’s world seems more important than principle. Yes, you have a right to protest but! Money is king. It will be interesting in the age of Trump to see if principle wins over money and power.
It is a shame that President Trump has tried to use football to divide America further. No one likes to be called an SOB. It is too bad that Trump has very little respect for the game. We should have the weekend to follow and root for our team or teams without the intrusion of politics.