A few weeks ago Colin Kaepernick, a player for the San Francisco 49ers NFL team, took full advantage of his First Amendment rights and protested key issues in American society by not standing for the National Anthem and Flag Raising. He is a mixed-race individual who has begun his incredibly public journey of helping to face the racial adversity still suffered in our country.
Many have taken offense to this for a variety of reasons, as the Flag represents much to many. In fact, a great number of individuals in our country feel that how we treat the Flag of our country is only second to our relationship with God…but that’s another story for another time.
To a good portion of citizens of the United States, it seems to be an “unwritten rule” that while you are perfectly welcome to protest what you don’t like about the US Government or issues within the country, you are never under any circumstances to disrespect the Flag in any way. For them it is an infallible entity unto itself, the existence of which solidifies our National pride and is a symbol of all things good about our way of life as Americans and our history.
So it was only natural, in our modern age, that social media be alight with endless rants, raves and discussions condemning “Kap” for his protest. Over on Twitter, I noticed a hashtag arise with a very clear message:
The idea is simple, if the NFL keeps allowing its “employees” to act out in this unpatriotic fashion during football games (there have been many others since Kap to kneel instead of stand), then there should be a mass exodus of its viewers and its fanbase.
Now hold on a second…….
Maybe it’s just me, but where was this outrage before? Like when Ray Rice was facing domestic violence charges? Surely we can all agree that protecting the life of women is more important than the Flag, and the NFL did not suspend Ray Rice until a video of the incident was released and forced their hand.
Where was #boycottNFL when Adrien Peterson beat his child in 2014 and received no other punishment than an easily payable fine and a suspension that only lasted till spring 2015? Or when it was announced that no punishment other that a 10 game suspension would be handed down to Greg Hardy who was indicted for beating his girlfriend? No firings, or releases or anything of merit. According to an investigation by USA Today, 85 out of the 713 arrests of NFL players since 2000 were all cases of Domestic Violence, yet they are still able to play.
And where, oh where, has #boycottNFL been over the past decade while current and former players are dying and suffering because of CTE?
The NFL ignores player safety and hands down irresponsible and inconsistent punishments for incredibly horrible behavior. It’s a money machine made only to entertain at the expense of individuals who push themselves to be the best they can at the sport of American Football since before they start college. Why is #boycottNFL just now trending?
Because it’s OK for their players to beat their children and their significant others, abuse drugs, and suffer incredible pain and death but it’s not OK for them to peacefully protest? It’s not OK for them to be individuals of a certain status that can bring light and progress to the issues of our Nation?
The truth is this, and it’s deeper than football:
The Flag is not more than the sum of what it represents, it’s exactly the sum of what it represents. When someone protests it, it needs to be made clear which part is being protested. It has been made clear. The protest is to bring light and progress to the issue of race relations in our country, no more and no less. It’s a huge issue that is now more visible in our modern age thanks to the same social media that is being used to vilify these players that protest the Flag, but it is only a part of what the Flag represents.
So to those of you who believe in and utilize #boycottNFL, what are you really on about? If you hold the NFL, and independent entertainment company, to such a high standard that you demand they reprimand an individual in their employment for simply utilizing his First Amendment rights…..why won’t you sound off every time Adrian Peterson gets to play? Or any of the other dozens of individuals currently playing for NFL teams with histories of domestic violence? Why isn’t their outrage when they get paid or get their picture plastered on the sides of stadiums and little kids’ tee-shirts?
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