Athletes should not be forced to stand for the national anthem

The Wichitan

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OUR VIEW: While we recognize the shared loyalty to our country, athletes should not be forced to stand for the national anthem.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick made a public stand by sitting during a time the country stands together to honor the country’s flag. His action has sparked discussion on both sides of the argument. Some players have followed his lead while others have been told by team owners that they will be forced to stand during this time. The movement is defended by saying that those that sit are dissatisfied with the unfair targeting of police force on black men.

The Wichitan staff were just as split as the rest of the country on this topic. While we are a pretty diverse group, there seemed to be no one person agreeing with the next. Some argued the national anthem — the “Star-Spangled Banner” — is a time to honor the country’s flag and the men and women that lost their lives to give us that right. Others argued that to provoke change, a person must be willing to sit when told to stand.

Sitting during the national anthem dishonors the brave men and women that fought for our rights.

Standing for the national anthem and placing your hand over your heart is a practice to show respect. What if you can’t respect where your country stands at the time and have been silenced to only sitting during an expected time to stand? What if Rosa Parks had done what she was expected? Even by standing doesn’t prove that the respect exists by the individual only that they have been conditioned to do so. It is possible to both have respect for your fellow man that died for your rights and demand progress. Let us not forget the First Amendment was fought for as much as the flag.

It isn’t the right platform to use.

If this is not the right platform than what is? Players have the attention of millions at home during Sunday football and as luck would have it each pregame will play the national anthem. Athletes and celebrities alike make the news for just about anything these days. Yes, Kapernick could have just sent out a tweet but would that have the same affect? Some would say it has provoked discussion so his stance has done what it set out to do. He and those like him have found a peaceful way to protest what they see wrong with the country.

With all of the money he has, why doesn’t he do more?

He did donate one million dollars to the Black Lives Matter movement. That didn’t get the coverage sitting down did.

Whether you find yourself agreeing or disagreeing with the Black Lives Matter protestors, one thing is for sure; sitting during the National Anthem harms no one. It is exercising a right given to each of us for the purpose it is being used.

Either way no coach, teammate, team owner or president should have the right to tell an athlete when to stand and when to sit.


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