NFL shows solidarity at the wrong time

Onyx York, Opinion Columnist

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Too little, too late.   

After being called a mean name by the president, NFL teams are quick to kneel in solidarity when they should’ve been kneeling all along.   

President Trump recently made a speech in Alabama urging all NFL team owners to fire “any SOBs” that dare disrespect the American flag by kneeling during the National Anthem. Since then, sports teams from the Green Bay Packers to ETHS’ very own girls volleyball team have chosen to kneel in protest. Charming, yes. But, everyone is missing the point. When Colin Kaepernick of the 49ers began this movement, he was ridiculed nationally and mysteriously lost his job. He did it not to protest the National Anthem or the American Flag. He did it to bring attention to a country that constantly disregards its own constitution, especially when it concerns black men.However, the reasoning behind the sudden mass protest-by-kneeling participation seems skewed considering the timing. Since Trump suggested that they lose their jobs, suddenly the whole team is on the same political page? I don’t believe it for a second. They’re protesting to keep their teams in tact, not because they truly see the suffering people of color face as a result of systemic oppression.                                

Some may argue that any time is the right time to peacefully protest and that there is no “correct” time to demonstrate. But, where were these protests after the Charlottesville riots? After President Trump blamed the victims? After countless lives of black Americans were wrongfully taken by crooked law enforcement? NFL teams didn’t care then because it was irrelevant to them. 

The National Anthem is a tool that must be used correctly. It cannot be used as a platform for a worker’s union protest, or when it affects you personally. The National Anthem praises America for it’s resilience and willingness to fight for freedom. But, if all its citizens are not truly free, the song is a big slap in the face. To stand is to willingly take that slap. To kneel out of desire to fit in is just as harmful. Kneel all year round or don’t do it at all.