“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people, and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder”
These were the words of Professional footballer Colin Kaepernick who during a post-game interview made these remarks to justify his protest against racism in America. This happened a year ago when on August 26, 2016 in a preseason game against the Green Bay Packers, Kaepernick chose to sit on the bench and show his support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
In the subsequent games, the ex-San Francisco 49ers player quickly edited his protest format to the kneeling posture or what has now become the Take a Knee controversy.
The Apprentice – Episode Goofball
Truth be told, it wouldn’t have become such a huge controversy had it not been for one forever testosterone-high Trumpet of America who prefers to sound the bugle over Twitter. This time, he threw expletives at the protesting NFL players by calling them son of bit**es instead of being Presidential by inviting them to the White House and hearing them out.
Well, but then you cannot reason with an unfair man who thinks he has his head sorted on every issue (domestic or foreign) and someone who was never known to be inclusive. Some 400 days before the U.S. Presidential Elections, while writing an article I had no idea America would play a Trump Card that was going to be this divisive through his conduct.
Trumpet aside, I am caught between the devil and the deep blue sea when I apply my mind to this raging controversy.
Taking a Knee – Yay or Nay
While I agree with a lot of people who are saying there is tradition involved in the singing of the national anthem, and that you must keep it away from any controversy. In fact, one coach nails it when he says:
To add to it, in my own country India, the honorable Supreme Court has directed that the national anthem must be played before movies in theaters and everyone is supposed to stand during the playing of the anthem.
I wouldn’t disagree with anyone who says it is important to stand during the national anthem. It definitely shows a mark of respect for the anthem, which above everything else symbolizes our gratitude towards those brave men and women who laid their lives in getting us freedom and protecting our nation.
So, the ones who are all for standing, I am with you!
To the ones hell bent on kneeling, I am with you as well! I amextremely proud of the Kaepernicks and the likes. It is terrific that you are not disrespecting your nation by deciding to take a knee but are just registering a soft protest against the violence and discrimination that concerns you and should concern anyone who calls themselves patriotic.
Patriotism, my friends, cannot just be symbolic, can it? It cannot merely be a hollow concept of tradition. Patriotism must not be dictated through how you exercise your leg or the knee but through the goodness of your heart.
As long as you are non-violent, I am with you!
In fact, I urge brother America to show solidarity with these protesting NFL players and take a knee. Take a knee like the wonder they call Stevie did at the Global Citizen Festival.