Thoughts On The NFL Knee Ban During The National Anthem

One of the core freedoms of our American democracy is freedom of speech.  The basic tenet of this freedom is that one is allowed to act or speak against the government without fear of reprisal or persecution. Unfortunately, freedom of speech has become twisted in a manner recently that does not reflect its true meaning.

Last week, the NFL made a decision in regards to their players kneeling during the National Anthem. In response to players such as Colin Kaepernick kneeling to protest injustice against communities of color, the ruling stated that personnel may sit or kneel during the Anthem, however, they must do so in the locker room. If they are on the field, they must stand. Any personnel who do not stand while on the field will be fined.

I’m not a football fan, but I am a fan of freedom of speech. This ban smacks of hypocrisy from my perspective. Those who took a knee or sat during the Anthem were only acting as any American does when they see injustice happening. They were publicly protesting, which is a right guaranteed by the Constitution. The hypocrisy comes into play when those who claim to love the Anthem and everything it stands for, uses it to spread their hateful rhetoric or encourage violence (i.e. the rally in Charlottesville last year).

This ruling is a perversion of American democracy.  My fervent hope and prayer is that this ruling is overturned. But until then, I will stand with the players who use their platform and celebrity for a good cause. Not just because it the right thing or the fair thing to do, but also because it represents everything that American can and should be.

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