Monday, October 2, 2017

My Response to the NFL Players Who are Kneeling During the National Anthem

Let's join them. The NBA pre-season is just getting started, and to my surprise, the NBA actually has a rule requiring all players to stand during the national anthem.

I dislike that rule. I'm with the late Molly Ivins, who said,

"I prefer someone who burns the flag and them wraps themselves up in the Constitution over someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves up in the flag."

I didn't know the NBA had such a rule. I think it's a restriction of free expression which violates the 1st Amendment of the Constitution. I hope NBA players start taking a knee during the national anthem -- for all of the reasons for which NFL players are kneeling, but also to protest the league's violation of their 1st Amendment rights.

Another thing I'd like to see is singers who've been invited to sing the national anthem during sporting events taking a knee when the music starts (if there is backing music), and not singing.

There's no reason why fans can't kneel along with the players. For some reason, fans booing and complaining about the protest -- and burning team jerseys and spitting on players who kneel -- are getting most of the headlines about fan reaction, but the truth is that many fans have expressed support of the players' right to free expression, with many also expressing support of the protest. And some people have decided to watch football games for the first time in their lives! Where are all the headlines about them? Those who support the protest can express it even more clearly, if they happen to be at one of the games, by kneeling and being silent as well.

And sports journalists who respect everyone's 1st Amendment rights can give some air time to fans who aren't fascist yahoos.

And there's no reason why solidarity with the protesting athletes has to be confined to sporting events. Schoolchildren could kneel and be silent as the pledge is recited in their classrooms.

And Congresspeople and Senators could kneel and be silent when the pledge is recited on Capitol Hill.

And those who feel that the President of the United States should defend people's 1st Amendment rights, and not call for them to be fired for exercising them -- after all, he did taken an oath to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States" -- should add that to the long, long list of reasons why Trump should be removed from office as soon as possible, whether by impeachment and trial in Congress, or by implementing the 25th Amendment.

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