Some NFL players demonstrated during the national anthem at several preseason games Thursday night, protests that again drew a rebuke from President Donald Trump. (Aug. 10)
NFL players are protesting during the national anthem again? Good.
It gives us a chance to review two important points as we await the result of negotiations between NFL team owners and the players’ union on the new anthem policy.
Point 1: Disrespect?
Kneeling isn’t disrespectful.
It’s a detail that somehow still needs to be clarified, and Jesse Jackson makes it as well as anyone.
“The guy kneeled. That’s humility,” the civil rights advocate said of Colin Kaepernick. “That’s exaltation.”
Christians kneel before the cross as a form of worship. Men take a knee to propose marriage. Squires kneel before monarchy to be dubbed knights. Adults kneel to lovingly correct children. Football players take a knee to listen to a coach after practice. And Kaepernick started kneeling after speaking with a former Green Beret who said “soldiers take a knee in front of a fallen brother’s grave, you know, to show respect.”
Maybe you can’t hear this from Jackson or Kaepernick or Nate Boyer, the veteran who persuaded Kaepernick to stop sitting two years ago.
Maybe you can hear it from Aaron Rodgers?
“It was never about the anthem,” the Packers quarterback said. “It was never about the troops. It was about social equality and racial injustice.”
Point 2: Pride
Some people won’t be forced to comply.
Again, from Jackson, who spoke with editorial board at The Arizona Republic this week, “I’d rather be a free cab driver than a rich coward.”
When players take a knee, knowing they face criticism from the president and others, they’re channeling patriots who put liberty above appeasement and principle above the status quo.
They won’t be dictated to on this issue.
With these points clarified, here’s hoping management and labor keep their focus on fixing the racial inequality being protested, rather than the protests themselves.
Also, Kaepernick is good enough to play in the NFL. He should have a job.
Reach Moore at email@example.com or 602-444-2236. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter @WritingMoore.