Kneeling in Protest

(AP Photo/Michael Perez)

 

I may not have a popular opinion. Michael Vick served his time, let it go. Ray Rice’s fiancé became his wife AFTER he knocked her out in an elevator. If she’s not mad about it, I’m not either. As fans we are outraged over what these players do off the field, in their personal lives, because “they make millions of dollars and are role models to our children.” Yet when they are being respectfully vocal about something they’re unhappy with, we’re unhappy because “they make millions of dollars as athletes, they should just shut up and do their job.” What is ok for them to do? Who is allowed to speak or act on something they feel is unjust? Is your local plumber anymore qualified to discuss politics than your quarterback?

The kneeling protest during the anthem has divided the country. You’re either in support of or against it, there doesn’t seem to be much indifference. President Donald Trump’s tweets over the last few weeks and VP Mike Pence’s recent decision to leave the game keeps the conversation going, and it will continue tonight. Before the Eagles-Panthers game, pastors and community leaders will be holding a “kneel-in” protest outside of the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. According to a report from Joe Marusak from the Charlotte Observer:

“Their protest intends to highlight ongoing police brutality and social and racial injustice.”

Let’s not forget what the actual protest is about. To play on your emotions, those against it have decided it’s about insulting the military and those who have served our country. Instead of focusing on the message, the focus has become HOW they’re delivering the message. I get it, sometimes this is just as important. Kneeling during the anthem has become an entire argument on freedom of speech and who has the right to say what.

I talked to USA Today’s National NFL writer Mike Jone about the protests, how it all started, and how it’s actually impacting the NFL. He sums it up best: “Everybody wants free speech until that speech is something they disagree with.” Listen to the rest of his phoner from this morning, and weigh in!

Tweet: @ByMikeJones, @theAmyMCR, @MYQ935!

It’s my opinion that kneeling is exactly how the player’s should be utilizing their platform. These athletes are peacefully and respectfully protesting something unjust that they see happening all around the country. If you’re not outraged at the same thing they are, you’re not paying attention. However, you have the right to disagree. It is, after all, our freedom of speech, our freedom to think independently of one another, that makes this country great.

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