I’m not a sports enthusiast and I don’t support any team. I consider myself a loyal American and I’m concerned about the controversy over standing vs. kneeling during the national anthem at football games.
The issue first arose as one or two players, then whole teams, chose to kneel rather than stand during the playing of the anthem to bring attention to the injustice toward blacks that is still present in our society.
I want to address the heated arguments claiming that kneeling is insulting and disrespectful to our flag.
As far back as history goes, kneeling has always been a sign of reverence and respect—subjects knelt before kings, people kneel to pray, a man kneels to ask for a woman’s hand in marriage . . . kneeling does not disparage, it is in no way disrespectful. In this instance it is a request that our nation face the imbalance that is still present in our society. Those accusations of disrespect arise from resistance toward facing those prejudices that still mar our nation.
Too often in recent times protests have resulted in violence—in which case the good of the justice sought, is lost to the injustice of the destruction that ensues. Martin Luther King Jr. awakened our nation to peaceful protest—the method used by Gandhi and Mandela to win freedom and justice in their countries. Our segregation battle was won by sitting at lunch counters, taking a seat in the front of a bus, and a peaceful march of thousands . . . kneeling at the games is in the same category, and I praise it.
Clearly the imbalance and injustice we are being asked to look at is very real and multifaceted, it will take time and agonizing efforts to resolve, but let us look at the peaceful way this protest is being expressed and admire the courage of those ‘stepping outside the box’ to bring it to light.