As I watched unhealthy amounts of football over the weekend, my twitter feed was inundated with both Trump’s comments directed at the sports world and the retorts from the other side.
Before we go any further, let me say how I feel generally about this situation:
- I support the right of players to kneel for the national anthem or peacefully protest in any other way they see fit that doesn’t affect the constitutional rights of another.
- I support the rights of a private corporation like the NFL and its teams to not hire anyone for any reason.
- I support the rights of the consumer to boycott the NFL if they believe there is injustice occurring. That is what we call the market regulating itself. And it may be working, though we’ll obviously never know the full cause of the massive ratings decline.
I found Trump’s comments absurd, childish, and completely unbecoming of his office, but what else is new? Furthermore, I don’t understand the general outrage toward this protest.
There are complaints, rightly, when groups like antifa protest violently, and at this point a non-violent antifa protest is a bit of an oxymoron. But the way in which these athletes like Colin Kaepernick and countless others have chosen to protest, or shed light on a situation they deem unjust, is precisely what we want. You can’t condemn both violent and non-violent protests. If you condemn non-violent protests, the problem won’t go away, but will lead to those same protestors having no choice but to raise awareness by turning their protests violent, seeing that as the only way to affect change. We can all condemn antifa, but what we cannot do, is chastise and deride those who, for better or worse, have chosen to protest peacefully. THAT is exactly the type of protest we want in America.
You have the right to criticize, of course we all do, but when the leader of the free world calls peaceful protestors “sons of bitches” and calls for them to be fired from their private corporations, we should see that as an attack on all private citizens that should not be allowed to stand.
Another thing I don’t understand is this idea that kneeling for the national anthem somehow demeans our military and its members. At no point have I heard any participant in this most peaceful of protests utter a single degrading word toward the US military. I also believe that any soldier who fought and/or died for this country would agree that the right to peaceful protest and the First Amendment is exactly what they were fighting for. But that gets lost in this outrage culture. These days, it seems everyone is too quick to assume malice while failing to listen and understand and converse with those with whom we disagree. This is evident again here.
Why demonize people like Colin Kaepernick? Why not listen to what they have to say and open a dialogue? What better way to bring a divided country together than to open a dialogue with those with whom you disagree?
This divisiveness and vitriol is not going away, and it’s clear our politicians, and namely our president, have no intention of attempting bridge-building or opening national discussions. This is going to take you, me, and the reasonable people on all sides to fix.
Maybe the police brutality they protest is an issue for all races due to police officer being one of the most difficult jobs in the world, and the ones involving black people are simply higher profile in the media.
I DON’T KNOW. I don’t know which theory is correct because, although I have studied a lot of data on this, I haven’t studied it all and I can’t speak with any degree of authority.
However, what I do know is that I’m open to these discussions. I’m open to talking about these things. We all should be. We must stop being outraged, take a second, calm ourselves, and have a rational discussion. We may not come to the same conclusions. We may disagree. But let’s agree to disagree. Then grab a beer, sit down, and watch a football game together in which Colin Kaepernick is the backup QB on a 6-10 team.
Follow the writer on Twitter, @Matt_Greenie