It is no secret that professional athletes and their teams have angered their respective fan bases by sitting or kneeling when the United States national anthem is played before games, as opposed to the routine procedure of standing.
The U.S. has experienced an increasing amount of political turmoil. Athletes have brought it upon themselves to voice their displeasure by protesting peacefully, particularly NFL players. Some reactions have shown indifference, while others have been inflammatory. In the latter’s case, scores of fans have ranted about boycotting the leagues of their teams and vowing to never watch another game again. Their anger is understandable, but most of these people are overreacting.
Many fans were angered by the actions of these athletes because they feel that the national anthem goes in conjunction with the United States flag, which is brought out before the anthem is played or sung. In protesting during the anthem, they feel that these players are protesting the flag, which represents the country itself.
In addition, military veterans are often present for the national anthem, and the flag also represents the American military to these fans. There are many in America that feel strongly about their country and their military, so any perceived disrespect of the flag will get them riled up.
The anger and vitriol of those who feel strongly for their nation are understandable, and they wish to show it by not watching or attending games. However, many of these people are overreacting to what is a peaceful protest.
These athletes have several reasons for protesting during the national anthem, most prominently the racial division in the United States. Several athletes have stated that they are protesting because of hate crimes that involve Caucasians shooting African-Americans, most notably by police officers.
Others are protesting the presidency of Donald Trump and the inequality he has spurred on from his supporters. There have been examples of racism by some Americans during and after President Trump’s initial campaign, such as “White Power” painted on a wall with the Nazi symbol or white supremacists protesting the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue in Emancipation Park at the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
These examples of racial inequality are the primary reason that athletes are protesting during the national anthem. The United States preaches peace, freedom, and equality, but they feel that the current state of affairs does not align with what the country is supposed to represent.
Athletes have repeatedly shown respect for the military, and do not hold a grudge against them like many fans are interpreting. When the NFL protests initially began with Colin Kaepernick, he was recommended to take a knee by a military veteran, as opposed to sitting down. Many athletes followed suit to show respect for veterans who fight for their country while still protesting the racial inequality prevalent in the United States in these modern times.
People are overreacting to athletes’ protesting during the national anthem before games, and they should not because these protests are peaceful and do not hurt anyone.