The Tartan

Anthem protesters within rights but are they right?

By Andrew Engelking, Staff Writer

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Every fan in the stands must be screaming to have a conversation with the person next to them because it is so loud. Team colors are flooded throughout hundreds of thousands of plastic stadium seats. The age of fans ranges from infants to seniors but most middle aged drunk men talking about how they just need to give their team a few years to be good when in reality, their team will never see a winning record. All of a sudden, the only thing you can hear is the ringing in your ears from every fan screaming. The flags are presented at the fifty-yard line and a single vocalist stands with the Army veterans holding the flags. As she begins to belch out the words to the National Anthem, fans begin to stand and face mid field with their arms at their side or their right hand over their chest. Then something very odd happens. Players from both teams do something a little different from the fans. About half the team standing, hand on heart or hands at their side. The other half is locked arms taking a knee. As for the opposing team, they didn’t even come out of the tunnel for the playing of the National Anthem.

It all started with Colin Kaepernick, the former quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers. It was to his intentions to stand up for black lives in America and used taking a knee for the National Anthem as a way to protest police brutality, racism and equal rights for African Americans. Players from mostly football but other sports also began kneeling or sitting for the National Anthem. Eventually the protesting of the National Anthem went from protesting to support black lives to also protesting for equal rights for the LGBT community. The big name contributed with protesting for the LGBT community is Megan Rapinoe, star soccer player for the United States Women’s National Team.

Fans everywhere were outraged by these protests but the one that is most offended happens to be President Donald Trump. In a press conference, President Trump proceeded to call any NFL player who kneels for the National Anthem, a “Son of a *****”.” On top of that comment, President Trump began targeting the NFL by telling Commissioner Goodell that any player who protests the National Anthem must be suspended immediately. As if the United States was not already divided enough over the presidency. This led to teams protesting the National Anthem for not just black lives but against the words and force being used by President Trump. Every team in the National Football League began kneeling together or not leaving the tunnel for the National Anthem. After the protests continued, President Trump is now attempting to implement a tax or fine for any player attempting to protest the National Anthem.

As President of the United States, it should be your job to make sure that all the people have full use of their amendments. Instead, President Trump is arguing that athletes should not be able to protest the National Anthem. The first amendment is exactly against what President Trump wants to take away from athletes across the country, the ability for a peaceful protest. Let’s look at what the athletes are doing, they are not hurting or harming anybody by taking a knee or seat to protest so it’s clear that they are protesting peacefully. President Trump has no right to attempt to tell the athletes how to protest and neither does anybody else in the country.

You do not have to be for the protesting being done as long as you are not harming them or harassing them in any way. I am not for the way the protesting is being done, but I am all for the reasons for which the protesting is being done. Not many people are informed about how the playing of the National Anthem began playing at sporting events. It all started when World War I was going on from 1914-1918. Fans and athletes actually came together to sing the National Anthem after the sporting event to show their support and love for the troops fighting overseas.

After talking to my grandfather who is a Vietnam War veteran, he was appalled at the kneeling and protesting for the National Anthem: “The National Anthem is partially used to show support for troops and fallen soldiers. The flag that is placed over the coffin of a fallen soldier and the playing of the National Anthem is to be respected and honored. I strongly feel as though these athletes are protesting for the right reasons, but it is disrespecting veterans and current soldiers fighting or who have fought for this country.” I could not have said it better myself. My grandfather made a great point about the fallen soldiers and placing an American flag on their casket. People are going to argue that it is not the intentions of the players protesting to disrespect veterans and current soldiers, but it can easily be taken that way.

There are many other ways to protest for black lives and the LGBT community without disrespecting the National Anthem and the flag. There are children that look up to these athletes as role models. When a child sees their favorite athlete taking a knee or sitting for National Anthem their instinct may be to do the same without even knowing the meaning behind it. With that being said, I will not disrespect or tell any of the players and athletes how to protest because it is their right to protest peacefully. As long as it is done peacefully, I will stay out of their way. I myself, nor anyone, can stop the athletes from protesting the way they do. The way that these players and athletes are being treated for protesting is quite sad and rough. I may not be for it, but I am not totally against the protesting being done. I hope that the athletes will soon realize the damage being done from these protests and possibly change the way the protesting is done but if not, this is their right and we all need to learn to respect it whether you are a civilian, celebrity or President of the United States.

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Anthem protesters within rights but are they right?