The Star-Spangled Banner is often sang in sight of the American Flag. (Mackenzie Quinn/Lariat)
All around the United States, there is a sweeping argument about what should be doing when the Pledge of Allegiance or national anthem comes on. Some believe that everyone should partake in these activities, and others believe that they are expressing their freedom by not participating and sometimes even sitting down or taking a knee when the “Star-Spangled Banner” is playing.
The most famous example we have seen recently is when Colin Kaepernick decided that he was not going to stand for the flag because he did not want to show that he was standing for the questionable line of “liberty and justice for all.” The individuals that don’t participate in the anthem are called disrespectful. Many people in the armed forces of the United States take great action in singing the national anthem.
Carole Isham, a great-great-great granddaughter of the writer of the national anthem (Francis Scott Key) stated that “it just blows my mind that somebody like (Kaepernick) would do what he does to dishonor the flag of this country and the national anthem when we have young men and women overseas fighting for this country, people that have died for this country.”
Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints quarterback, supported Kaepernick’s message, but thought his delivery was all wrong. He said, “It’s an oxymoron that you’re sitting down, disrespecting that flag that has given you the freedom to speak out.”
Not standing for the national anthem is an ineffective way to promote a cause. President Obama said, “As a general matter, when it comes to the flag the national anthem and the meaning that holds for our men and women in uniform and those who’ve fought for us- that is a tough thing for them to get past to then hear what his [Kaepernick’s] deeper concerns are.”
Refusing to stand for the national anthem angers U.S. citizens and creates division in our country. Many fans of Kaepernick-well, no longer fans- are burning his jerseys to show their opposition for his actions. One video of a jersey on fire posted on Facebook was captioned, “He says he’s oppressed making $126 million. Well, Colin, here’s my salute to you.”
Colin Kaepernick created in what some call a “peaceful protest.” This could be because when some people think the U.S. is not living up to their ideals of freedom or justice for all, refusing to stand for the national anthem may be appropriate and justified.
“I’m not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color…,” Kaepernick said. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
Many other athletes have since refused to stand for the national anthem for similar reasons.
“The message is I’m against social injustice…,”said Denver Broncos wide receiver Brandon Marshall. “I’m not against the military or police or America at all.”
Another pro to this protest is that people of fame refusing to stand for the “Star-Spangled Banner,” it shocks people into paying attention and creating conversation.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell originally disagreed with those actions, but later praised what he called a movement from protest to progress.
“I truly respect our players wanting to speak out and change the community… We want them to use that voice,” Goodall said.
To sum it all up, not standing for the National Anthem is in fact a legal form of peaceful protest, which is a First Amendment right.
A letter signed by 35 US veterans said, “Far from disrespecting our troops, there is no finer form of appreciation for our sacrifice than for Americans to enthusiastically exercise their freedom of speech.”
Freedom of Speech is so important in today’s society. Issues need to be addressed and talked about, or things will never get solved.