On September 22, Donald Trump verbally attacked NFL players who knelt during the national anthem, referring to them as "sons of b*****s."
The next day he tweeted:
The controversy about kneeling during the national anthem has been around since Obama was president, but since President Trump made those comments, it's regained attention in the news.
Many say kneeling during the anthem is disrespectful to the nation and to the flag, but here are some points that have been taken straight from the Flag Code that is actually disrespectful to the American flag.
1. Disposable items (napkins, plates, etc.)
The code says that “It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard.”
Yes, even the 4th of July T-shirts your mom gets from Old Navy.
“The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever.”
4. Carrying the flag flat
"The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free."
It shouldn’t touch the ground, but it can’t be carried horizontally either.
5. Athletic Uniforms
“No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations.”
Only firefighters, policemen, and military personnel can wear it on their uniforms, not athletes.
But is kneeling during the anthem disrespecting America?
A 1943 Supreme Court case West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette determined whether people should be forced to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.
In the final decision, the Court said that "compulsory unification of opinion," was going against the values of the First Amendment. Therefore, it was ruled unconstitutional to compel people to stand up and salute the flag.
The same idea can be applied to the National Anthem. You can kneel, stand, hold hands, whatever. People can’t be forced into saluting the flag because that goes against the First Amendment of the Constitution.
These players kneeling during the national anthem are practicing their First Amendment rights. Peaceful protests are an integral part of American history and culture, not a disgrace to it. These players kneeling during the national anthem are practicing their First Amendment right to peacefully protest.
And there’s nothing more patriotic than that.