By: Jeremiah Hunter
The recent NFL protests during the National Anthem have shown that blind American loyalty has diseased the movement for civil rights, and empowered the systematic oppression of black people in the United States, something that has plagued this country for decades.
Plenty of NFL players have taken a knee to demonstrate against white police officers killing black people and getting away with it. This protest has become popular since former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick spoke out against racial injustices. Kaepernick’s unwavering determination helped him persist through constant backlash from “patriotic” members of society. Kaepernick continued his protest to show that the black community will stand strong. Plenty of “patriots” have been taken aback and angered, calling his actions “unpatriotic,” “disrespectful,” and just flat out wrong, when he is just exercising his rights under the Constitution of free speech.
Some are even insisting Kaepernick and anyone else participating in such peaceful protests, “leave the country.” Soldiers of all eras fought for the right for Americans to not only be able to stand for the National Anthem, but to also have the freedom to sit or kneel. Over half of the NFL players are now showing solidarity with the movement and Kaepernick.
Kneeling for the anthem or the flag isn’t disrespectful, but using it for advertisements and for clothing most certainly is. The United States Code, a collection of all federal laws in the U.S., has a section dedicated to the flag Title 4, Chapter 1 – The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery (Cornell Law School – Legal Information Institute).
If this peaceful protest is not welcomed by the American people with the clear message of what it’s for, then what protest is acceptable? Athletes like Jackie Robinson, Tommie Smith, John Carlos, and Colin Kaepernick have all used their platform to raise awareness of the injustices, police brutality, and obnoxious racism that have attempted to crush black people for decades. But of course, to America, no protest is the “right” protest.
The National Anthem is supposed to be representative of our entire country. Some of the most racist, and pro-slavery lyrics are buried deep inside the American lexicon and have no place in modern society: “No refuge could save the hireling and slave from the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave.” In short, Francis Scott Key was saying the blood of former slaves and hirelings will wash away the pollution of British invaders. It is a fact, parts of the National Anthem are racist, but many people still feel it is wrong to kneel during the event. Plenty of Americans still choose to support such an anthem knowing that it’s against black people, and therefore, showing the true nature of our country. With the truth of the National Anthem revealed, the true intentions of the “hypocritical patriot“ are made transparent.
The chaos that racism has caused in the past and present has plagued our country and it will continue to do so until people see the truth about our country.