Football Players and the National Anthem

One view: Football players should absolutely stand for the playing of the national anthem before their games.

Another perspective: Football players have a right to do whatever they want during the national anthem, including getting down on one knee or standing and raising their fist.

A compromise: A subject on which reasonable people may differ (although The Curmudgeon suspects you know where he stands on the issue).

But here’s an even bigger question:

Why on earth do they play the national anthem before a football game – or a baseball game or a basketball game or any other type of game? What does the national anthem – a song glorifying war, you will recall (“and the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air”) – have to do with playing a game? The rest of us don’t start our work day with the national anthem, so why must professional or college or even high school athletes do so?

And while we’re at it, who decided that failure to treat the national anthem in the customary manner reflects a lack of respect for veterans? In fact, what do veterans have to do with this matter at all?

And to take it a step further, for those who for some reason insist that this is all about veterans, if people aren’t free to express their displeasure about some aspect of their society in a non-violent, non-disruptive manner without the harassment of their neighbors and their president, then don’t you have to wonder what those veterans think they were fighting for?

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Comments

  • pastorbeetle  On September 28, 2017 at 11:33 am

    Wading in as a veteran, retired after 22 years… I have a number of thoughts.
    First, I was never sent to war, thankfully, but would have if called. I never ONCE thought I was doing my service for a piece of cloth, or a song. I did it for an idea – one that encompasses the Constitutionally guaranteed freedoms of speech, certain civil liberties, civil rights, and so on.
    Secondly, I have found many veterans with whom I am familiar support the right of footballers taking a knee or even burning a flag if that is their wont. It’s that whole first amendment thing to which I alluded above.
    Finally, I do care about the flag, its proper display, and having respect (not veneration) for it. But I also realize it is but a symbol with differing levels of importance to different people. But, as it is with all things ‘flag,’ one has free agency regarding it.
    Patriotism under the boot of anyone isn’t patriotism. It’s facisim.

    • foureyedcurmudgeon  On September 28, 2017 at 12:32 pm

      I, too, have noticed veterans supporting the rights of protesters.

      The flag is an interesting issue and I’ve been considering writing about it. I recall that back in the 1980s many people – mostly, but not entirely of a conservative bent – considered it unpatriotic to wear any clothing that depicted a flag. It was considered highly offensive. Now, 30 years later, it’s commonplace and almost universally accepted. This reflects, I think, how the times change and how standards change. It leaves me constantly leery of people who are trying to tell us that there are people who are violating certain standards when experience tells us that standards and mores are constantly changing. As I often do, I’ll cite an episode of “The West Wing” in which a pollster was telling the president that legislation to ban flag-burning would go over well. Should he pursue that, he asked. No, she said. You shouldn’t make it against the law to burn flags but you should tell people they shouldn’t burn them because it’s disrespectful and there are other, better ways to make their point. Returning to the kneeling issue, though, I think it has done a great deal to call attention to the problems that inspired the kneeling.

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