Editorial: Silence the National Anthem?
San Francisco’s quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, continues to sit or kneel while the National Anthem is played prior to 49ers’ games. He says he will do this until he sees change in what he considers police brutality and disrespect to minorities in the United States.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” he said.
That’s not new; in fact, my Aug. 31 editorial took him to task – saying he needs to “step up, don’t sit down” – urging him to get involved in the debate, meet with local, state and national officials, create a dialog on this subject.
He has done that in part, according to news reports, meeting with San Francisco officials. He also has reportedly pledged $1 million for charities that focus on racial issues.
However, he continues to kneel.
Meanwhile, something else has happened too: friends of his, former teammates, colleagues, players of other sports, … even entire high school football teams have followed suit, not standing or singing “The Star Spangled Banner.”
It’s catching on, spreading.
Again, I do not agree with what he/they are saying, and believe Kaepernick should do more to get his message out.
That is imperative because the action has brought about ideas, but not what I think these “protesters” had in mind.
As is the case in this country, an action often is met with a complete and opposite reaction. In this case, there’s talk of playing the National Anthem when no one’s around, especially before the athletes take the field.
Even more extreme is the idea of not playing the National Anthem anymore before events – sporting or otherwise.
Folks, that is not the answer.
Since this began we have witnessed at least yet another shooting.
So, why don’t we talk about the issues everyone is kneeling for – or the ideals our Armed Forces are fighting for?
This has become a sideshow, a distraction from the real issues. Kaepernick, himself, said the National Anthem and the American flag should represent what they’re supposed to represent.
To me it is bigger than football and it would be an utterly incorrect, knee-jerk reaction to replace the National Anthem with a call for a “moment of silence.”