Misguided Patriotism Challenges Anthem Protests. : ThyBlackMan

Sunday, December 17, 2017


Misguided Patriotism Challenges Anthem Protests.

August 28, 2017 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Politics, Sports, Weekly Columns

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(ThyBlackMan.com) Patriotism is defined as “love for or devotion to one’s country” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. This definition proves how subjective patriotism is but it is a big topic in sports and especially the NFL due to the national anthem. National anthem protests have become as common a topic in the NFL as head coaches on the hot seat or quarterback controversies. The most controversial quarterback in the NFL last year, Colin Kaepernick, set off a wide open discussion of NFL consciousness with his protest of the national anthem and his articulated and calculated reasoning behind his actions.

He has gotten recent support from celebrities and several social groups have challenged the NFL for his current unemployment. Kaepernick has publicly thanked his supporters for the support as well as pointing out that his “faith always has been and always will be in the power of the people!” Now the people who are picking up after Kaepernick include many of his fellow NFL brethren who are redefining patriotism in many ways with their national anthem protests.

Whenever a NFL player protests during the national anthem through kneeling, raising a fist in the air, or any other action seen as “disrespectful”, the focus goes away from the cause that the athlete is bringing awareness to and fighting against to the action itself. When some white NFL players have publicly supported their teammates through actions on the field, most of those white NFL players have quickly mentioned their respect for the flag and the national anthem likely so their patriotism is never challenged.

Earlier this month, Raiders quarterback David Carr, who is white, placed his right hand atop the back-neck area of black teammate Kahlil Mack’s jersey throughout the national anthem during a preseason game. After the game, Carr made it clear that he was not making a statement against the American flag and national anthem by saying, “Obviously, we see what’s going on in the world. And obviously, everybody pays attention to the national anthem nowadays. We just said, ‘This is the best time to do it while still honoring our country,’ because I love our country more than anything.” The national anthem and songs that celebrate America are viewed as synonymous with patriotism which is flawed in many aspects.

NFL legend and former Cleveland Browns running back Jim Brown has spent decades working for social causes but he had issues with Colin Kaepernick’s protest. He was recently quoted as saying, “I’m an American. I don’t desecrate my flag and my national anthem. I’m not gonna do anything against the flag and national anthem.” Unfortunately, Brown has defined being an “American” and having patriotism as actions taken during the national anthem and not protesting for the human rights of fellow citizens. It is also important to mention that protesting the national anthem, written by Francis Scott Key, makes sense for all people given Key’s racist history. The narrow and simplistic views of patriotism need to be defined by holding America accountable to rights for all of its citizens and not deference to a song written by a white supremacist and bigot.

Staff Writer; Mark Hines


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