Kneeling in Protest

nfl stadium football kneeling protestRecently we have witnessed an outcry in America over the protests involving the NFL. If you have been under a rock for the past year I’ll explain: Players in the NFL are kneeling to protest black inequality in America. Some might say they’re protesting our president’s stance on the subject or police brutality against minorities, but it all boils down to inequality. Since Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem this issue has become a media feeding frenzy and a national issue.

They have the right.

Millions of Americans are up in arms over the entire ordeal screaming that the players, coaches and owners involved in these protests are disrespecting our flag, county and armed forces by kneeling during the anthem. On the other side of the argument people are saying they are exercising their freedoms of speech with the platform available to them and it just happens to be a big damned platform.

In reality these men are using the freedoms afforded to them to speak their minds in whatever way they deem necessary. They are not perpetrating violence or inciting riots. This is a peaceful protest and they have every right to do it.

That being said, you don’t have to agree with them. You don’t have to like the fact that they are kneeling during our anthem. I was raised to honor our flag and country. When the anthem is played I take off my hat and put my hand over my heart. If the pledge is being recited I’ll take part, again with hand over heart. I am proud of my country, no matter how imperfect. I will continue to do so, even if I am the only one doing it.

I have the same right.

I’m going to make this post short and sweet. I won’t debate racial inequality in America here. I’ll save that for another post.

The fact is that the people involved in this protest have every right to kneel during the anthem. They are not breaking any law and are participating in a peaceful protest. However, I have the same right. I can peacefully protest. I can protest their use of federal and state funds to promote events and build stadiums. An organization that uses it’s nationally subsidized platform for political activism does not deserve my tax dollars. If this continues I would like that money to go to a better cause.

Also among my rights is the right to decide where I, personally, spend my money and invest my time. The dollars from fans, white, black, Latino, and Asian alike are what pay these people to live lives most can only dream of, financially speaking. I don’t have to contribute mine. If they won’t stand for our national anthem, I won’t stand in line to buy their memorabilia or tickets to a game. I won’t tune into stations that air their games.

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Your money is your power.football wilson american protest boycott

Your impact can be far reaching through silent protests. I know a great many Americans will be boycotting the NFL because of the players kneeling during the anthem. I will go a step further and say that you can boycott any company associated with themĀ if you really want to make an impact.

If a TV channel airs games; don’t watch that channel. At all. Nike sponsors a player for the league? Don’t wear the swoosh. Budweiser wants to show the Clydesdales during a Superbowl commercial? Don’t drink their beer. I know could probably stand to drink less beer anyway.You can buy a football without the name Wilson on it for your children. See a company advertising in their stadiums or associate with them on a business level? Don’t purchase their product.(A list of NFL sponsors can be found here)

When companies see association with the NFL and its players kneeling during the anthem is hurting their bottom line they will pull funding. They will stop using the NFL as a source for advertisement and stop sponsoring players. This is how you really make your voice heard.

But you said they have the right to protest. What gives?

Hockey sport protest view watch boycottThey do. And if a group of NFL players want to gather on the sidewalk and picket that’s fine by me. They have that right. They do not, however, have the right to report to their job and kneel in a very public spectacle and expect there to be no consequences. Try it at your job and see how far it gets you. I’m guessing all the way to the unemployment line.

That is the right of their bosses. If they act in a way that damages the image of the organization their boss has the right to pull their contract and fire them. The sponsors have the right to do the same.

This is a concept that not enough people in America seem to grasp these days. Freedom of speech protects you from the government, not from me. You have the right to say what you want, but nothing guarantees that what you say will be without consequences.

Besides, there’s always hockey.

 


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Posted in The World Around Us.