Thoughts on the civil protests by sports and entertainment figures

Some see it as just a cry for attention. Others see it as a defilement of a national symbol and the country itself. Some don’t have the curiosity of what had led to many NFL players (and other athletes in other sports leagues, later musicians and entertainers) to take a knee during the US National Anthem. Why be “disrespectful” to what’s been engraved on American society as a sign of love and dedication to the stars and the bars and the country it represents? Why have these people, in the highly public places of their respective careers, seemingly insulted the men and women of the US military who have fought for and died for the country? If there is a cry for attention through the act, that attention is to be aimed at the questions.

Some in the realm of the US public won’t take the answers as anything other than what they’ve concluded on. That’s part of what draws out the entire basis of this act of protest… Because an eye isn’t open, or someone is locked in their position while an issue that affects many more in America than the players on an NFL team roster.

One thing that was immediately achieved by way of something besides a sporting event (or a musical performance) was life and politics interrupting events that are so often used to escape being subjected to such things (which is oh-so common in day to day life). Athletes are all too often expected to just contend in sports and never voice an opinion or show a connection to society besides that of being a successful pro sports figure. Win? Lose? Whatever! Play the game and to hell with anything beyond the field, court or rink!

To those who link themselves into that ignorance-is-bliss comfort zone, I have bad news for you: Sports figures are members of society and society has these things called life and culture and opinion. They’re allowed to form an opinion and express it. To have it happen on the field seems like a distraction, indeed, but how else does a highly-visible figure shed light on issues? In the case of the NFL actions, it was civil rights and race based and manifested by way of insult decreed by the sitting President. For others, the kneeling during the anthem may amount to a protest against the direction of the United States in general and how society is being affected. The people of the country struggle (over race issues and discrimination, over rights being violated) and those in highly visible entertainment fields expressed themselves to show they are aware of it and aren’t in favor of it. It was a passive action, it was an expressed concern and it did not interrupt sporting contests, musical performances, television shows or movie events.

What was done, no matter how much you agree or disagree with it, was a hell of a lot more sane and civil than the hate expressed and violent actions of Charlottesville, Virginia earlier this year. During that episode, there wasn’t a sign of unity beyond that of those who wished to dominate the masses. There was no offering of understanding and a sign of support of various races and creeds. It was one way or no way and that is not an aspect of the United States of America. It stands as a malicious act against society and what people should be expressing concern about, or feel wronged by… Not by a football player taking a knee to protest the more passive-yet-demeaning forms of racial discrimination that exist.

American society is built upon the many, not the few. To restrict and restrain others because you’re intolerant of their color, race, creed, or place of origin – it counters what the modern state of the nation was founded on. 241 years of history saw strengths and assets brought forth and defended by so many different people, with so many different states of culture expressed by them.

The flag isn’t being insulted and nether is the Star Spangled Banner by someone kneeling as the anthem is performed. Neither are the men and women who have and do serve this nation and defended the rights of Americans. What is being insulted is understanding, logic and tolerance by those who are against the act, against the viewpoints, and against accepting the notion that things aren’t right and we, the people, should be working together to improve them.