Daily 49er

Take a knee for the constant divide of a nation

Taking a knee for victims of racial inequality should be applauded, not suppressed.

Dallas+Cowboys+players+and+staff+including+owner+Jerry+Jones+and+head+coach+Jason+Garrett+all+take+a+knee+before+the+singing+of+the+National+Anthem+prior+to+the+start+of+a+game+against+the+Arizona+Cardinals+at+University+of+Phoenix+Stadium+Monday%2C+Sept.+25%2C+2017+in+Glendale%2C+Ariz.+%28Vernon+Bryant%2FDallas+Morning+News%29+
Dallas Cowboys players and staff including owner Jerry Jones and head coach Jason Garrett all take a knee before the singing of the National Anthem prior to the start of a game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium Monday, Sept. 25, 2017 in Glendale, Ariz. (Vernon Bryant/Dallas Morning News)

Dallas Cowboys players and staff including owner Jerry Jones and head coach Jason Garrett all take a knee before the singing of the National Anthem prior to the start of a game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium Monday, Sept. 25, 2017 in Glendale, Ariz. (Vernon Bryant/Dallas Morning News)

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TNS

Dallas Cowboys players and staff including owner Jerry Jones and head coach Jason Garrett all take a knee before the singing of the National Anthem prior to the start of a game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium Monday, Sept. 25, 2017 in Glendale, Ariz. (Vernon Bryant/Dallas Morning News)

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The ongoing protest of players kneeling during the national anthem has fired up our commander in chief. So much so that he referred to those who knelt as “sons of bitches,” and that he wished they could be fired for doing so.

I couldn’t disagree more.

While he certainly has a right to disagree, the men kneeling have the right to a peaceful protest. Especially coming from a president that has been as divisive as he has, these men are only trying to influence change and help prevent the social injustice and racial inequality that many of them face daily.

I understand that our flag and anthem are representative of our great nation. People continue to fight and die for the country they love. But they also fight to defend our freedoms, one of which is the right to peacefully protest.

As a veteran of the Marines, I understand where many people are coming from. I have friends who have served, continue to serve and who didn’t return from their service.

But at the same time, I understand why these men are protesting. These players are protesting for social injustice and racial inequality. Many of these men have also tried to clear up any confusion by saying that they aren’t trying to disrespect the flag or service members.

“We hate that people are going to see it as that we don’t respect the military and the men and women that are way braver than us that go and put their life on the line every day for us,” said Devin McCourty, a defensive back with the New England Patriots, to the LA Times. “But, we just wanted to send a message of unity and being together and not standing for the disrespect and different ways guys felt.”

To those who say that if they did that in a normal work setting they’d be fired, I counter with the fact that what they do isn’t normal. A normal person isn’t broadcasted into people’s homes every week. These players are simply using the platform they’ve worked hard to get to and help fix problems that are going on today.

After ranting about his disgust toward the players who protested, the president retweeted a tweet that referenced Pat Tillman’s service as a reason to stand for the anthem and to boycott the NFL. Tillman was a professional football player who left his career in order to enlist in the US Army in 2002, following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Yet Tillman’s widow, Marie, wouldn’t have her husband used to divide those who felt the protest was disrespecting those who had served, past and present. She responded to President Trump via CNN.

“As a football player and soldier, Pat inspired countless Americans to unify. It is my hope that his memory should always remind people that we must come together,” Tillman said.

Amen to that.

I think there are a lot of things that we as a society need to come together and work on, especially. Maybe kneeling during the anthem can help with that. At minimum, it has sparked dialogue on how to help fix these issues.

I’m completely fine with these protests. As a veteran, I’m not offended one bit. If I had millions of people watching me every week and needed to promote an issue that I was passionate about, then I’d do the same thing.

Good for these players and everyone who supports them because at the end of the day, all these guys want is a more positive and unified society.

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