I will never forget the vibrant expressions painted on the faces of each fan during my first football game. The atmosphere could be compared to the enthusiasm of a child opening presents on Christmas day. The crowd was loud, filled with aggressive chants emphasising their sheer thrill and passion for the game. The only disagreeance sprouting from the stance on which team you decided to support. So how did a sport that brings so many people together, become representative of the divide in America?
Our National Anthem is supposed to bring about an uplifting feeling of pride which provides each American with a sense of unity. When played at the beginning of each football game, players and fans stand to boast pride for their Country. However, some players feel that the words written by Francis Scott Key, do not adhere to their intended meaning. Colin Kaepernick, a former member of the San Francisco 49ers, protested the anthem making a statement that can be compared to one made by Frederick Douglass, showing the divide in America.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way.” — Colin Kaepernick, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Aug. 26, 2016
“Your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brass-fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery.” — Frederick Douglass, former slave and abolitionist orator, July 5, 1852
It is tiresome to know that issues protested 165 years ago are still as relevant and haunting and tragic today, maybe they are not regarded to in the same degree, but there drive for relevancy still presents itself. In shimmering words our national anthem tells us to, “Praise the Power that has made and preserved us as a nation.” How can one utter words of virtue and power when they feel their virtue and power has been lost on those same words? Arguments can be made on behalf of the soldiers fighting each day in order for us to be free, however, what is to be said that some of those same veterans are in agreeance to the defiance of the National Anthem. Kneeling, sitting, or a simple fist raise during America’s blessed anthem are mistranslated into a sense of hatred for the country and those who protect it, however, what is forgotten, in so many cases, is a shared perspective to those who attempt these subtle actions. A shared perspective allows Americans to understand that each player is not sitting out of pure disrespect and hatred, there is a reason. Kaepernick kneeled not out of disrespect, but as the result of police brutality, The New England Patriots kneeled as a response to President Trump’s comments, fists were raised to the sky in order to show black power, and a seat was drawn for those who did not have the same religious affiliation for which they felt the flag extended its reach, they all had reasons. Who decides whether their beliefs should be considered misconduct. The defining factor is whether or not they feel the lyrics sang for years throughout America meant to unite citizens as a conjoined unit, are ringing true to what their eyes are forced to see day to day.