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Would you take a knee?


Doing everything from kneeling to not even showing up, sports players and teams across the USA, and even into Canada, have been making headlines as they protest during the playing of the national anthem. But, just what are they taking a stand about?
It’s no secret that I am not a huge follower of sports and, therefore I was a little confused when the word of these protests started hitting mainstream news. So, I did what anyone else of my generation would do and I inquired with the internet as to just what was going on.
Turns out that it has been happening since 2016 when San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sat, and later kneeled, during The Star Spangled Banner. Others soon joined him, silently protesting police brutality and racial inequality.
Throughout the 2016 season, members of various NFL and other sports teams have engaged in similar silent protests. The demonstrations have generated mixed reactions. The protests' opponents have stated that the protests are unpatriotic and disrespectful of the U.S. flag and military.
Then, last month, the NFL protests became more widespread when more than 200 players sat or kneeled on Sept. 24 in response to President Donald Trump's calling for owners to fire the protesting players.
Now, you can’t open up your Facebook or Twitter feed without stumbling over a meme or someone voicing their opinion on the matter. In these comments I have seen everything from people passionately supporting the movement to those condemning it.
I happen to be one of those people that can see both sides.
Long before The Star Spangled Banner became the national anthem it was a well-known American patriotic song and well used to honour the military. It is actually written in U.S. Code that, “during a rendition of the national anthem when the flag is displayed all persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, and men not in uniform, if applicable, should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart; and when the flag is not displayed, all present should face toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed.” So, I can see where the people calling it a disrespect to patriotism and the military are coming from.
At the same time, freedom of speech and the expression of such is a First Amendment constitutional right. I think that point can stand on its own.
What I find most entertaining though is Trump's reaction to the protests. Taking to Twitter, he has urged people of the U.S. to boycott the entire NFL while simultaneously stating how the organization is failing anyway and there is no interest in the sport. For him or against him, I think we can all admit the situation could be handled by the nation’s president with a whole lot more professionalism and respect. Could it not? DGB