You have seen it on tv. You have seen it in the news. The NFL National Anthem protests are widespread and highly publicized. There were even singers who took a knee while singing The National Anthem before a game. The players are protesting against many topics, including police brutality.
The protests have been done by multiple NFL teams including The New England Patriots. I was at the Patriots-Texans game where a group of Patriots players took a knee and the entire Houston Texans team locked arms in a sign of unity. I was there when the entire stadium was booing the players kneeling, and I heard the insults yelled at them. When I looked over at my father, a Iraq War Veteran he said, “It’s their right to protest,” and “I and every single member of the military served to protect their rights.”
The real question is, are the protests disrespectful? In my opinion some of it is, and some of it isn’t. In my opinion whenever a person takes a knee during the National Anthem, it is disrespectful no matter what that person or persons are protesting. When I hear the National Anthem or see the American Flag, I think of the men and women who protect and have protected this country. I think of the men and women who have died to protect the flag and their families who are left without sons, daughters, husbands, and wives. I think of the number twenty-two for the twenty-two veterans who commit suicide every day most from the experiences they have in war.
There are other ways to get their point across than kneeling for the National Anthem. The players that lock arms while standing for the National Anthem still manage to get their point across, while showing unity and maintaining respect for the National Anthem and our country.
The NFL has been suffering from these protests with ratings down 5% from last year’s viewership, and there is now a notable emptiness in NFL stadiums during the games. While the NFL will most likely never collapse, they should adopt a policy about the players kneeling for the National Anthem if they want to fix the division and fix their ratings drop.