Literally Lorna column: Disrespectful yes, illegal no
I can't seem to stop thinking about this kneeling in the NFL during the national anthem. I love watching football, in particular the NFL. I love how exciting the game is and look forward to Sunday afternoons and Monday nights.
It makes me a bit sick to my stomach that these over-paid athletes who work and get paid by an American company think their opinion matters to us, the fans. This type of disrespect has me turned off, but not totally tuned out. I just want to be entertained; just play football.
Since this is a topic I can't let go, a middle-aged white female, I'd imagine there are many others who have thoughts on this matter too, so I took the time to ask some people I know.
I spoke with my coworker, Scott, a retired coach and white male. To my surprise, he had the opposite take on this kneeling.
"It is freedom of speech and they have that right as long as they're not physically hurting anyone," he said.
He added that Colin Kappernick sat on the bench weeks before this major story broke and was asked by an ESPN reporter why he was sitting during the national anthem. Kappernick referend the Ferguson shooting, which was his way of protesting the black vs. white police problem. I'm not sure if any of that is true, but it sounded about right to me. Either way, the act of kneeling took place and the story continues a year-plus later.
I also asked an Army veteran and retired truck driver. He doesn't understand why players are doing this. His take was someone in the player's family must've had something to do with either Vietnam or Desert Storm, so why would they disrespect them? I also got an earful when asking a Navy veteran his thoughts on the issue. All of those replies were from white men.
Those comments made me think beyond. There is something we're not understanding as a society. I also thought about situations some are faced with, such as, what a small nightmare for the NFL as a business and the public relations department. As as owner, how should this best be dealt with? What an absolute headache for a head coach, like they don't have enough to think about. The white teammates who feel like they're stuck in the middle. I'd imagine most teammates want to support their black teammates, as a team is tight knit. Aaron Rodgers was best man at Randall Cobb's wedding, that tight knit!
Let's not leave out the fans' viewpoints or the sponsors' viewpoint. This all of a sudden became a story I couldn't stop thinking about. I also thought about those I asked, in particular Scott, who said "They have the right to protest as long as they're not harming anyone." That is the exact freedom those veterans fought for, our right of freedom of speech. Scott was right on. I think it's fair to say most white people don't understand the black person's view, maybe never will, but protesting in a civil manner can get a point across.
As I watched and listened to the last few Sundays' games, I was relieved to see most players standing with locked arms. This showed support for their teammates without acting in a disrespectful manner to our flag.
I'm not too much of a Jerry Jones fan (owner of the Dallas Cowboys), but he handled this issue with class and participated like the proud owner he is.
As for the act of players staying in the locker room and removing themselves from the view of media, fans, sponsors, etc., I felt OK with that. I wondered what players did back in the 60s and 70s when the black movement was more active.
Our president is not going to tell the NFL or any other business how to conduct their business, but putting some pressure on the issue is healthy. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell really hasn't said much but what can he say, his opinion doesn't really matter; it's the decision of each team's owner in how they want to respond.
Weeks later I feel the NFL is handling this protest the best way they can, listening to the players and how they want to handle this as a team.