In 2009, the U.S. Defense Department gave the National Football League $12 million to stage patriotic pregame ceremonies involving flag waving and the national anthem. The military hoped that this would help recruitment in the various service branches which had dropped off. Before this time NFL players didn’t come on the field until after the anthem had been sung. Players are not required to stand but are encouraged to do so. Colin Kaepernick was not the first athlete to kneel during the anthem; some WNBA players had actually started the protest several months before, but he had a higher media profile and his protest came at the height of the 2016 presidential election.
The league wide protest last Sunday was in response to remarks made by Mr. Trump about the situation while he was talking to Republican voters in Alabama last week to encourage them to support the party candidate in the state’s run-off Senate election. They were quite provocative and extremely inflammatory as so many of his statements have been.
I have seen many statements, read many columns, and heard much oratory concerning what happened, both pro and con. Much of it has fallen along racial lines. However, a family friend, who is a white man, posted a commentary on Facebook which I believe is the most eloquent expression of what the protest and the feeling is truly about as any statement I have encountered. It is so moving and thought provoking that I knew that I had to share with you who read this. My heartfelt thanks to Mr. Tim Schneider.
TAKING A KNEE:
My personal editorial
by Tim Schneider
(Tech Alum – Class of ‘69)
Since the earliest days of humankind, taking a knee or kneeling has meant only two things: indicating submission or indicating honor or reverence. The meaning of this offering has not changed one iota in any societal culture. Only the interpretation by some who now suddenly view it as an insult or as disrespect. Taking the knee has never been and is not either of those things.
There has been far too much attention regarding athletes ‘taking a knee’ with far less attention to the ones taking a seat during the national anthem. And no one has pointed a finger at the photographers or videographers who don’t stand at attention but instead run around trying to get the best image of an athlete kneeling or a team locking arms. I find far more irreverence in their behavior than I could ever find in kneeling athletes.
No one ever complains when someone takes a knee to pray. No one ever complains how another person even prays: kneeling, standing, sitting, lying in bed, head bowed or raised, eyes open or closed, hands on the back of a pew, clasped, or raised heavenward. And just how many of us in our living room easy chairs EVER rise when the national anthem is played on TV or radio at any event? If we’re following protocol, we should stand anytime we hear it wherever we are.
Whether standing, kneeling, or sitting, anywhere, it’s a constitutional right imparted by the founders. We are a nation of individuals with individual rights, and we govern ourselves. We are governed by the many NOT by the few. Hence E PLURIBUS UNUM. History has proven many times over that governance by the few does not work and does not last.
If we see a constituent being wronged, do we just watch from our slightly parted window curtain? Do we call the police? Do we protest city hall or call our congressperson? Do we donate to a cause? Do we tell the story to a camera crew?
We use the opportunities at our disposal to bring attention to the issues causing harm to ourselves, others, and our communities. Currently that opportunity is millions of viewers of athletic events.
The US was founded out of protest and revolution against royalty expecting us to behave in a particular way. And yet as a nation we typically frown on protesters. We don’t want the boat rocked. We don’t want to see the ugly underbelly of horrific acts of violence happening right in front of us or seen on our nightly news. The athletes being chastised for their actions during the nation anthem are reminding us of the very things wrong in our nation that we don’t want to be forced to face up to. And rather than delving in to these very real problems, it’s simply easier to point a finger and say ‘look at him, isn’t that shameful.’
Taking a knee does not disrespect our flag. It does not disrespect our war veterans. It does not disrespect our democracy or our elected officials. Taking a knee is simply another way to display reverence to all of these things while saying ‘don’t forget about this thing happening over here.’
My final thought is Martin Niemoller’s Holocaust poem. It speaks to the precarious times we find ourselves in.
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
So speak up and most importantly listen when someone else speaks up!
Colts Get a Win
Lost in the political debate of the weekend was the fact that the Colts won their first game of the season at home against the Cleveland Browns. Recently acquired quarterback Jacoby Brissett took control of the offense in the first half and led the Horseshoe to 28 points. He ran for 2 touchdowns and passed to TY Hilton for a third. This was his first pro touchdown pass and Hilton’s first TD catch of the season. Frank Gore added a 4 yard touchdown run. In the second half the Colts attempted to establish a run oriented ball control offensive game plan with little success. Adam Vinatieri added a 33 yard field goal in the second half which proved to be the game winning points. The Browns were favored to win but dropped to 0-3.
The Browns could have won the game but a rash of penalties including 5 offensive pass interference penalties were their downfall. The Browns’ rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer had 2 touchdown passes and ran for one. He’s the real deal and a player to build an offense around. He did throw 3 interceptions, however. Corner back Rashaan Melvin has been around the league since 2014 and picked off his first 2 career interceptions in the game. Safety Malik Hooker, the club’s top draft pick, added his second inception in as many weeks. Linebacker John Simone collected a sack against Kizer but the rush was mediocre after being so effective the week before against the Cardinals. The Colts rookie punter Rigoberto Sanchez is becoming more confident with each game so that’s one less thing for the team to worry about.
Brissett has settled the backup quarterback issue. The offensive line still needs to get straitened out so that holes can be opened for Frank Gore and Andrew Luck? Well Andrew Luck will return to practice as of Wednesday of this week. That’s good news of course. Do not look for him to play this coming Sunday. The Colts will be in Seattle this coming Sunday to take on the Sea-Hawks. The Hawks lost to Green Bay last week so they will be looking for blood. Here’s hoping the Horseshoe can give them a game.