Kneel for what’s right

By Dylan Botelho, Staff Writer

It all started as an act against police brutality. Now, the President of the United States has gotten involved and nobody really knows what it means anymore. It isn’t a protest against the flag, the country, or even the President; it’s against unfairness, inequality, and oppression that doesn’t belong in this country.

President Trump, who apparently started the movement and knows everything about it, tweeted, “The issue of kneeling has nothing to do with race. It is about respect for our Country, Flag and National Anthem. NFL must respect this!” For a guy on twitter so often, you think he’d figure out the reason why people are kneeling. A true modern genius.

Colin Kaepernick, now out of a job in the NFL, took the ultimate risk. He decided to use his celebrity to make a change and that’s what this important movement has come down to. This protest has shown just how ugly this country actually is, starting from the top. 

There are innocent people getting murdered for their skin color and all our president can focus on is the “disrespect” to our national anthem.

That’s because this country is run by a white supremacist, a man who has no comment on members of the KKK or people running peaceful protesters over. His opinion on NFL players kneeling and still observing the anthem? Sons of bitches. That’s the country we live in, that’s why the kneel was all over your screens last Sunday and headlines on Monday.

Thousands of uneducated, close-minded people are quick to post on Facebook about the event. I’m not sure why there, I’m just starting to think that Twitter has some kind of brain cells requirement to join. It’s not very high but its definitely a lot higher than Facebook’s. Their posts usually go something along the lines of…“these overpaid athletes are breaking an American tradition! They should be standing for the National Anthem as they always have!” Except…that’s just wrong.

NFL players only started coming out of their locker rooms during prime-time games since 2009. 2009. Three out of the five Patriots Super Bowls were won before then. It’s an important “American tradition” that’s only been going on for eight, count ‘em, eight years.

Why was the reason you ask? Not to respect the anthem, no. It was due to time constraints. Major networks wanted to get the players on the field and start playing as quickly as possible, so there was no time to waste on them walking out of the locker room after the anthem.

Only two out of our 45 Presidents have been in office since this was put in to action, Barack Obama and Donald Trump. So much for tradition.

Trump and his fellow alt-right members will also lead you to believe that Kaepernick is a terrible guy, with no respect for anyone. That, too, isn’t true. When all of this started in 2016, Kaepernick originally sat on the bench for his protests. After that, Kaepernick consulted a former Green Beret and NFL veteran, Nate Boyer, on how to best get his point across without disrespecting the military and the anthem. Thus, the kneel was born. The kneel, something that has been cited as dividing this country, disrespecting the military, and the anthem, was decided upon after consultation with a veteran to do the exact opposite.

Eric Reid, the forgotten member in all of this, wrote in the New York Times, why he and Kaepernick began kneeling. He described their decision to kneel after speaking to Boyer, saying “I remember thinking our posture was like a flag flown at half-mast to mark a tragedy.”

Listen to any player speak on the topic, the way they talk is beautiful. So concise, so eloquent, a complete contrast from the talking heads we hear from the White House. Patriots wide receiver Brandin Cooks, one of the hundreds “sons of bitches” and also son of a Marine, explained why he took a knee during the anthem this Sunday.

“A lot of people think we’re disrespecting the flag and the military, but my father and uncle were Marines. I have the utmost respect for the men and women that fight for our freedom…The message we’re trying to send is that we want respect and unity, and there’s only so many ways that you can do it. We decided before the game that we were going to do it and I’m glad we went through with it.”

Still though, a tiny group of Patriots fans decided to hold a rally on Thursday, burning the jerseys of players who kneeled. As you can guess, it was a diverse group of white people aged 40 and up who attended. The best part is, from the videos posted online at least, nobody burned a jersey. The guys who hate the NFL so much won’t burn a jersey they paid $150 for. Shocker.

The people who are trying to take politics out of the NFL by protesting the games and not watching are so entrenched in the NFL that there’s no way they’ll ever actually do it.

If you care about politics in the NFL so bad that you say you’ll boycott the games, you care about the NFL too much and there’s not a chance you’ll be doing anything else but watching on Sundays. DirectTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket is even refunding customers who purchased the program and now have decided to boycott the NFL.

Sunday Ticket costs $200. Imagine spending $200 to watch every football game every Sunday and after week 3 you decide to cancel because players are kneeling. You have to be an absolute psychopath to be so invested in the NFL that you purchase Sunday Ticket and then return it because you can’t handle people kneeling for two minutes. A true snowflake if you ask me. What’re you going to do on Sundays instead? Rake? Spend time with your significant other? Stop it.

Politics are a part of sports, always have been. We’ve made athletes famous celebrities in our society. We too often just classify these players as athletes and nothing more. They’re people, they have opinions, they have lives outside of sports. No matter how much more money they make than you, we’re all the same. They’re trying to make a difference, a positive one, with their celebrity. So we should stick with them, rather than abandoning them.

Fight the good fight. Stand up, no, kneel for what’s right.

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