The first frame of a recent political cartoon depicted an owner and a professional football player discussing protesting during the National Anthem. Personally, I view protest as actions done with signs, banners and verbal complaints while marching. Are the “Kneelers” protesting, or reverently kneeling in quiet regret that America has not, and still does not “live out the true meaning of its creed” concerning people of color?
The second frame suggests the “Kneelers’ message is muddled.” To Americans ignorant of American history and recent events, I suppose it is. But if professional football players studied history in college, are they acutely aware of the egregious wrongs of our nation’s past for which the “take America backers” express no remorse or regret?
The third frame addressed the owners’ concerns about ratings and the NFL’s existence. I wonder, do the owners even remember the exclusion of black athletes before America’s gradual change of social policy? And was that change due to a desire to reverse the wrongs of the past, or the increased ratings black professional athletes would and did bring to professional sports?
The fourth frame addressed the possibility “Kneelers” could be fired by the team’s owner. Fired for what? Reverently expressing their opinion? Are professional football players employees of employers, or owned by owners, who feel they can dictate the player’s personal lives just as slave owners dictated every facet of their slave’s lives? Can owners mandate allegiance to the flag in the work place? What workplace? Do professional athletes work, or enjoy the pleasure of playing the sports they have loved and played since childhood? Are they paid wages as workers, or compensated based on the tremendous wealth they create for their owners?
Above all, is dictated allegiance allegiance, or following the rules? Is mandated patriotism patriotism, or compliance with the law? Can patriotic respect be legislated, or must it be earned? I wonder, how many Germans who raised defiant fists and cried “Hail Hitler” expressing true appreciation for Adolph Hitler, or complying with Nazi law due to fear of the repercusions?
What do you think?
Robert C. Currie Jr.