Bradley FritzhandSATISMr. Griffin 13 December 2017 Throughout the National Football League, controversy has arose due to black players deciding to kneel during the national anthem. In 2016, Colin Kaepernick chose to kneel during the national anthem in the first preseason game of the season. Although the first two preseason games did not cause any attention, it was the third game in which sparked a conflict throughout the United States. He quickly gained publicity and “told the media after the game he sat because of the oppression of people of color and ongoing issues with police brutality” (Timeline of Colin Kaepernick’s National Anthem Protest and the Athletes who joined him, SB Nation). The protests slowly caught on in the NFL and other leagues across the nation as players began to follow Kaepernick’s lead and kneel for the anthem. Megan Rapinoe, an advocate for the LGBTQ community, opted to kneel as well as she claims that the flag did not represent natural rights for all citizens across the United States. Overall, the nation was not pleased with Kaepernick’s protest as it disrespected the flag, along with those who have served our nation. National television networks and social media platforms created heated debates regarding whether it was morally right for Kaepernick to kneel. Although his intention of kneeling was to bring equality for blacks in the United States, Colin Kaepernick protesting our national anthem is not the right decision because it shows disrespect to the flag and to the members who serve our nation, and it is an ineffective way to promote a cause. In a world filled with war and conflict, hundreds of thousands of Americans make the choice to serve our nation to keep the people in the United States safe. They sacrifice their lives each day to make sure ours are protected. Their bravery, commitment and dedication results in the United States being secure. Colin Kaepernick’s choice to kneel during the national anthem greatly disrespects current and former citizens in the armed forces. Brian Sullivan, a retired Army lieutenant colonel, mentioned after watching many players kneel that “it brought him to tears… There’s enough divisiveness in our country. Don’t bring it to sports” (Military veterans are divided over NFL protests, The Boston Globe). The emotional effects it has left on the armed forces makes them contemplate if protecting the nation is even worth it. The purpose of the national anthem is to display respect towards those who put their lives on the line to protect the United States. It is not right to downgrade them because the want for equality. Players have also chosen to lock arms or raise their fist while the anthem is sung, all acts of disrespect. If black players in the NFL were looking to take a stand and make a difference, they might as well protest the game by not playing instead of the flag. Similar to boycotts led by Martin Luther King Jr., it would be more effective to sit out of the games resulting in the loss of revenue for the NFL instead of kneeling for the anthem. The American flag represents our natural rights and without it, Kaepernick would not have the freedom to speak out regarding black equality. Drew Brees, the quarterback for the New Orleans Saints, is completely against the kneeling of the national anthem. He mentioned that the anthem “represents the very freedom that Colin Kaepernick gets the opportunity to exercise by speaking out his opinion in a peaceful manner about that issue” (Drew Brees ‘wholeheartedly’ disagrees with Colin Kaepernick’s method of protest, ESPN). It is hypocritical for Kaepernick to protest against the anthem that is providing him with the freedoms to speak for his community. Kaepernick gained plenty of negative publicity but did not back down. Those who have attended NFL games, or any sports event, know that the prior to anthem being sung, the announcer will go on the podium and ask for everyone to please rise. If Kaepernick and his followers so choose to not rise, it should be taken as a love of utter disrespect. Kneeling during the national anthem is a bold move, however should be noted as one that is disrespectful to those who have and who are serving in the nation’s armed forces and to the flag itself. With absolutely no question, Colin Kaepernick brought the San Francisco 49ers a great deal of attention and publicity when he chose to kneel. He became the distraction for the team that no team would have wanted. Dabo Swinney applauded Kaepernick, but mentioned in an interview that he does not “think it’s good to be a distraction to your team. I don’t think it’s good to use the team as a platform. I totally disagree with that. Not his protest” (Dabo Swinney, Football Scoop). Evidently, the distraction he created for the 49ers led to him opting-out of his contract, losing his job. Kaepernick, looking to solve an issue that has occurred for decades now, eventually became the issue for the 49ers. Although Kaepernick has gained the attention of the media, his decision to kneel is not making progress for his goal. Everybody is so focused on the concept of him disrespecting the flag, which results in his goal not being achieved. Instead of being named a hero for leading a black rights movement, he has inevidently been named the villain because he has had no regard for those who have served our nation. The issue with players kneeling across all the major sports in the United States is that there is no specific goal in mind. Some want to end police brutality and racial discrimination, some are looking for equal rights for sexuality, and some are looking for equal opportunity. It is impossible for Kaepernick to achieve his goal if there is not one goal set in mind. For there to be a conversation on how to move forward as a united nation, Kaepernick must clearly explain what the meaning behind kneeling is. While some have completely supported Kaepernick throughout his black rights campaign, there has been a significant amount of players in the NFL who have been against the decision to kneel. Malcolm Jenkins, an advocate for equal rights for the black population, revealed his thoughts about kneeling during the anthem. Jenkins mentioned that his “grandfather served. And this is a country that I love. So, me not standing for the National Anthem isn’t really going to get me the results that I want” (Malcolm Jenkins, Justin Pugh, and Anquan Boldin on Colin Kaepernick National Anthem Story, The Big Lead). Kneeling during the anthem is useless. A solution can not be achieved if there is not a problem that is clear. Simply, it is ineffective because it does not allow for a message to be proven. As mentioned before, Megan Rapinoe kneels due to the inequalities within the LGBTQ community. However, Kaepernick kneels for black rights; this results in confusion over what kneeling is meant to achieve. Kaepernick has gained support by many black rights supporters and what he is doing is right but his way of protesting is incorrect. It would be more effective to speak at schools and in front of big crowds to tell his side of the story and to explain why this cause is so significant to him. To educate the people on why equality is important is more effective than kneeling and staying silent. While Kaepernick has been the hero that the black population needed, he can not achieve anything while bringing anger to the nation. If he wants to gain supporters, it is not likely if they are furious with the disrespect he has shown to the flag. When Kaepernick first began opposing the anthem, it began plenty of controversy that has not gone away. He created distractions for the 49ers and for the NFL as a whole. His movement resulted in NFL ratings heavily going down and “President Trump has linked the NFL’s ratings, which he called “massively, massively” down, and players kneeling during the anthem, suggesting they were turning fans away” (Are NFL player protests ‘massively, massively’ hurting TV ratings?, USA Today). Kneeling during the anthem has pushed fans not to watch the game they love anymore. Sadly, Kaepernick can not make progress with his movement if the majority does not support it and if he allows for more and more to join kneeling during the anthem then nothing will be done to help his cause. Although Kaepernick became an immediate NFL star when he led the 49ers to the Superbowl during the 2012 season, his true stardom came when he decided the kneel during the national anthem. He gained immediate attention which might have annoyed some but led to more and more realizing that blacks do not have equal rights. Kaepernick’s decision to protest should be allowed due to the fact that when one’s ideal freedoms in this nation are limited, they should be able to protest for their cause. Kaepernick told the NFL Media that he is “not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color” (Colin Kaepernick explains why he sat during national anthem, NFL.com). Kaepernick is correct in context that he should not have to respect the flag when the flag has done nothing productive for him. He feels that he is not equal to the white population and he should be able to protest it. Kaepernick is a strong individual that made a bold decision to step up for his cause. Although he gained horrible publicity as many were angered, his choice to protest immediately shocked the people of the United States which forced them to pay attention to him and gain traction to his issues. Although Colin Kaepernick is a powerful human being and has brought attention to one of the United States’ most significant issues, protesting the flag that has given him the freedom to speak out about his issues is wrong. It has put our nation into turmoil and has led people to gain unnecessary anger. If he had wrote books, created commercials and had educated the people while donating to funds to bring equality, it would have been more effective. Kaepernick should have the right to communicate his problems but should not have done so in this way. Instead of bringing together the NFL, he has seemingly split it up. He created two sides instead of bringing them together. Kneeling during the anthem only hurt him and brought more hatred to him and his followers. Kneeling during the national anthem should not be allowed. For those who would like equality and are looking to make a change, protesting the anthem will not help their cause. It is disrespectful to those who have served our nation and who have protected our nation. Without them, the United States would be in constant danger, resulting in natural rights being revoked. Colin Kaepernick is brave for standing up for a cause that interests and effects him, however kneeling is not the correct way to bring a solution. It will only bring more problems. His decision to kneel has brought more division within our nation, which was not his goal. Kaepernick wanted to unite the nation and to bring equality for the blacks but it is not possible without support from a majority of the people in the United States. It is problematic considering our president does not support kneeling during the national anthem. In most cases, including this one, Donald Trump has had his opinions heard and has not held back when he disagrees with an opposer to his system. He voiced his ideas on Twitter regarding kneeling during the anthem when he said that “If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL,or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem. If not, YOU’RE FIRED. Find something else to do” (Trump responds to NFL protests: ‘Standing with locked arms is good, kneeling is not acceptable, CNN). Kaepernick’s chances of making any progress for his goal is slim considering the president does not agree with the actions he has made. Protesting the anthem should simply not be allowed.