Our thoughts on the NFL protests….and why you should be concerned
Last week, The NFL spoke to Americans and the world with a silent action that has rung loudly throughout stadiums, homes, dinner tables, and has ridden the internet with articles, Facebook statuses, tweets and posts. It has clogged up the internet (some people may have even missed Kylie Jenner’s pregnancy announcement) with even more negativity, argument and resistance while creating even more division in a nation that has seemingly been venturing down a drastic path of division for some time.
All you have to do is scroll through your newsfeed to sense the division, negativity, anger and fear pouring out of people you know. People use social media as a way of abruptly ending friendships, relationships and family ties, giving people the ability to unfollow peoples’ lives and decide that based on difference of opinions someone you’ve known forever is no longer worth your attention or time.
Here at Daily Mom we recognize the fact that we are all entitled to our own educated opinions. America is a beautiful country full of diverse people and we respect that – actually we love that. This is a principle that we feel digs down into the very core of what this country should be about. We want you to know that we respect that your opinions may differ from any one of ours and we would like to hear you out, even if it makes us uncomfortable. Why do we feel that way? Because change and growth doesn’t happen in the face of comfort. It happens in the state of discomfort. Rather than using the issues facing this country or the NFL protests as a vehicle for generating hate and anger towards others, what if we instead acknowledge that we have all grown up with different life experiences leading us to our strong opinions, and opened our ears up to others, to hear their opinions, to show empathy towards their situations and stimulate productive and educational conversation. That is a movement that we want to get behind, a movement we want to showcase to our children.
Today and as a website, we choose not to take a stance on the issue itself. We are a team of writers with differing and strong opinions and we are a team of writers who work together, support one another and LISTEN even when we disagree. We understand that we cannot always change the opinion of others but we can RESPECT one another and work on bridging the gaps that divide us and we strive to bridge them with love and compassion. For this reason, we want to showcase some of the opinions of those on our team that are strong, passionate and differing. We admire these opinions, even the ones we disagree with and we want you to hear them and share them for others. Most importantly, we want to remind you that we are all in this together. “Divided we fall” has never been a more true statement in this country and it is not one we want to promote within our families or our everyday lives.
Opinions From Our Team
I used to stay silent about controversial issues. My social media pages were filled with funny memes about sleep deprivation and an annoying amount of daily photos of my kids. I used to roll my eyes when I scrolled through my news feed and saw my friends posts about politics and current world affairs that they insisted should be a priority to the silent type like me. I used to think silence was the key to staying neutral and liked.
Then our country began to divide and unravel. It started out slowly last year during the months leading up to the election. And now, in the midst of its aftermath, I realize that silence is the last thing our country needs. No matter which side you’re on, I think most of us can agree that we are in the middle of a great period of change. One might even dare to call it a revolution. I certainly would. And during a revolution, voices need to be loud and mighty, but actions need to be mightier.
In our great country, land of the free, every American citizen has the constitutional right to peacefully protest in order to stand up for violations on any and every basic human right. Why should members of the NFL be excluded from this right? I’ve heard it all.
“They make millions of dollars, so they should just do as they’re told.”
“They shouldn’t use their fame and notoriety as a platform for their personal agenda.”
While I completely disagree with the above reasons, there’s one that really bothers me:
“Kneeling during the National Anthem in protest is disrespecting what our country stands for and is weak, cowardly, ineffective and lazy.”
I believe it’s the exact opposite. The players of the NFL who knelt were taking a stand for the basic principals our country was founded on. And the simple act of many beloved, public sports figures kneeling in protest was anything but weak, cowardly,ineffective and lazy. It initiated conversation throughout the nation. It ignited a flame in not only those who agreed with them, but also those who opposed. Now it’s up to me and you, no matter what side we’re on, to take that flame and run with it. I will no longer be silent.And you shouldn’t either.America didn’t become great through silence. And it’s not going to become great again through our president’s catch phrases and tweets. It thrives on its diverse, passionate people. So, use your voice, and let others use theirs. It’s the right of every American to keep pushing and fighting and revolting for the greater good of our country.
I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same.
Wait, where are the players? Did they seriously stay in the locker room? I don’t understand why they would just ignore the National Anthem.
Every day at 6am and 5pm our little base in the middle of a the country comes to a halt. As TAPS begins to play, everyone stops what they are doing- running, walking, talking, playing- to stand at attention for the raising or lowering of the flag. Adults and children alike recognize this as a respect for a symbol of our nation. It is a symbol for those who have gone before us- both those that fought in wars to protect us and those that fought here at home for our basic human rights.
My husband is an officer in the United States Marine Corps. When he was commissioned in 2007 he took an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States. He has made it two other times since then with each subsequent promotion, and it continues to be a bearer of witness to our family’s life. He has been deployed twice for 8 months at a time. He has spent countless days and months away from our family even when he is “home.” And in the wake of the controversy surrounding the NFL, my die-hard, lifelong Seattle Seahawks fan will tell you that the actions of the players, coaches, and staff at this organization don’t really affect our day-to-day life.
Football is an unwritten symbol of the United States. When the players, staff, and organization do something that divides the nation so coarsely, such as refusing to stand or attend the National Anthem, they make that divide even greater rather than unifying the nation. As quarterback Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys said, “I mean, it’s bigger than I think some of us think. It’s just important for me to go out there, hand over my heart, represent our country and just be thankful and not take anything I’ve been given and my freedom for granted.”
Although we (as in me and my husband- we can’t speak for all military families) feel that kneeling or not attending the National Anthem a blatant lack of respect for this nation, the people, and for all those that defend it (both military and human rights activists), my husband will continue to fight for the rights of people to protest peacefully. He will still put on his uniform, lace up his boots, and walk out the door with the oath written above ringing in his head. I will continue to stay on the homefront when he boards that C-130 or that Naval ship to take him away for 8 months at a time. I will hold my children as they cry for their father, clutching the Daddy Doll we have for each of them so they don’t forget his face. We will continue to stand every time our National Anthem is played, him at attention and me and our children with our hands on our hearts, and we will do that for all the people who feel that this nation does not deserve that respect. Our hearts will bleed on the inside when we see the flag draped coffins of his comrades or see the black town car pull up to our neighbor’s house while those in football helmets kneel to the ground. We will continue to stand, to fight, and to honor this nation so that others can choose not to.
“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” S.G. Tallentyre, The Friends of Voltaire
Democracies fail from apathy. It happens slowly, a tweet or two calling for societal repercussions to peaceful protests at a football game. Free speech cannot be taken away wholly at one time, but chipped away at slowly. Anything that appears to chip away at our right to freedom of expression should be met with recognition for what it is – an attack on democracy. Dictators take no dissent. That is why to protect democracy, free speech must be zealously protected – no matter how much discomfort it causes.
The emotionally charged debate dominating the NFL became supercharged when President Trump became involved. The president said owners should fire any “son of a bitch” who shows “total disrespect to our heritage,” referring to those who protest during the national anthem. The protests began last year when NFL football player Colin Kaepernick kneeled during the national anthem to bring awareness to police brutality and racial inequality. I recognize that at first blush any desecration or gesture disrespecting the flag may appear unpatriotic, but dig deeper, testing the free exchange of ideas captures the American spirit. Fundamental to democracy is the right to express one’s opinions without fear of governmental retaliation or censorship. Free speech is sacred; we are lucky to be in a country where we are free to express whatever position we want. Whether it is kneeling during the anthem, flag burning, or any other use and abuse to the flag, I value that freedom of speech is fundamental to democracy. It doesn’t matter how much my inner patriot recoils, I recognize freedom of speech as essential for democracy to flourish over tyranny.
“An employee may have a conditional right to talk politics, but he has no constitutional right to be employed.”Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
I support the NFL players and their cause, but it does not make the issue a first amendment infringement case. The NFL is not a state actor: the person in the position to prevent the protests are the owners. There is no state action that can be legally enforced, let alone passed, to appropriately respond to the players’ protest. The owners are the ones who manage the team’s public relations image, and if they deem the players do not appropriately represent the team (or are costing the team money), the owners may fire the player. So for the meantime, keep politics out of football!
Before the American Colonists announced their independence from British rule on July 4, 1776, a band of Bostonians raided British tea ships in the Boston Harbor. The Boston Tea Party was one of the first American acts of protest. Most people water down history; dumping the tea into the harbor led to our declaration of independence and the revolutionary war. What people forget is that the tea was dumped into the Boston Harbor as a protest to the Tea Act. Remember, “No Taxation Without Representation?”
45 tons of tea was dumped into the harbor because American colonists were being taxed by a British Parliament to which they elected no representatives, not because they were demanding independence; Independence came after.
Why are NFL players taking a knee during the National Anthem? Some think it’s an anti-Trump demonstration; others are convinced these players hate America and are disrespecting our military. These same people have forgotten about Colin Kaepernick; and they definitely have no recollection about the 309 black people killed by police in 2016, or the 207 black people killed since January 2017.
Colin Kaepernick took a knee long before Trump was in office. He was using the national stage provided to him to protest African-Americans getting shot by police officers and being profiled by law enforcement as thugs. Kaepernick told the media “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” A year later, following the incident in Charlottesville, VA, Michael Bennett of the Seattle Seahawks said “I can’t stand for the national anthem, I can’t stand right now. I’m not going to be standing until I see the equality and freedom.”
In response to these players’ peaceful acts of protest, Trump has done what he does best, incite chaos and distort reality to distract the American people. Rather than reflecting on the reason these players began protesting, he announces that team owners should fire any player who refuses to stand during the national anthem. It was only after Trump attacked the NFL that entire teams began taking a knee, some even refused to come out of the locker room at all. Americans fell for the trap, we forgot about the real reason behind taking a knee and instead have gotten ourselves swept up in yet another divisive distraction.
Dumping tea in to a harbor was an act of political protest. Signing the Declaration of Independence was a political protest. We declared our independence holding “these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness… That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
241 years later, kneeling during the national anthem has become an act of protest. Because all men and women are created equal, but not all men and women are treated equal, and it is the right of the people to alter it and to make changes that affect the safety and happiness of all men and women.
Tags: accepting others opinions, Colin Kaepernick, football, Kneel, Nation, Nation Divided, Nation United, National Football League, NFL, NFL Protest, op-ed, opinion, Patriotism, Peaceful Protest, Protest
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Jessica is a holistic health counselor and work from home mom living in the middle of nowhere USA with her sweet little boy! She suffers from a serious case of compulsive globe-trotting and is always counting the days until her next move or adventure. You can often find her trying to get in her exercise in by lunging through the park while chasing after her very energetic little boy! She is constantly fueled and energized by her love for healthy eating and occasionally copious amounts of caffeine.