Peaceful protest is good

Admir, Barucija

Taking a knee during the national anthem is not and should not be considered outrageous by any means, as it is a subtle way of exercising First Amendment rights.

Colin Kaepernick, former 49ers football player, just over a year ago started this debate when he refused to stand for the anthem in a preseason game.

The national anthem debate has recently received a newfound vigorous response, likely influenced by the tweets of none other than President Donald Trump.

President Trump has taken an extremely firm stand on the issue, claiming, among many things, players who kneel have no love for their country or the flag, that they need to be fired or punished and that their actions cause bad ratings.

It is a logical fallacy to describe taking a knee as disdain for the country and the flag, as all the players involved very much love their country.

This debate, from the very beginning, has been about protesting social injustices such as police brutality incidents that occur in the United States.

The players legally have the right to partake in their protesting, which does not harm anyone. While many argue that politics and sports should never be mixed, it is amazing that athletes are using their popularity to spread awareness of social issues in the U.S. despite all the criticism and hysteria.

Naysayers could very well be aiming to divert attention away from what is really at stake while preaching about patriotism.

President Trump has openly said that players should not protest during the national anthem and utilize their rights under the Constitution, which establishes a perilous precedent.

Discouraging athletes from engaging in peaceful protests implies that they should stay in their place, which is wrong because that prevents oppression happening under everyone’s noses from getting the attention and respect it deserves.

America, a nation founded on the virtues of liberty and freedom, should be encouraging NFL players to push on and possibly lead to a new law being made instead of sternly criticizing them.

While the flag and everything it stands for are undoubtedly important, social inequities and the inferior treatment of part of the American population surely matters more.

Compelling everyone to stand for the anthem and thus stay obedient to the values that oppress them does not sound much like something that happens in a democratic system.

Those who criticize the kneelers should take the time to work on addressing persistent issues such as racism rather than question the ungratefulness of people that supposedly hate their country.

From the beginning, Kaepernick has been completely respectful and has not used extreme means to make his point, which is true for all the other NFL athletes as well.

Kaepernick may very well be a pioneer that could spark a social revolution in the United States, but these changes will naturally take an extensive amount of time.

Anyone who takes the initiative to change society for the better deserves nothing but the utmost admiration.