I thought the issue of football players kneeling during the national anthem was so last year. It started with Colin Kaepernick and has moved through many of the other NFL football teams. This simple act, kneeling whilst hearing the national anthem has been condemned, especially by Trump. But is kneeling really disrespectful? Historically speaking, it’s the opposite.
But first, let’s talk about what is disrespectful to the flag. According to the US Flag code, anything from holding the flag horizontally (like at the beginning of many sports events) to printing the American flag on something disposable like a paper plate is disrespectful. I cannot express how irritated I’ve been to hear about flags being balled up instead of properly folded, or how frustrated I become when I see a flag that should be retired waving in the wind like old laundry. Actions like those are disrespectful. Taking a knee might break conduct rules, but it is not inherently wrong.
Historically speaking, kneeling is a sign of reverence, of submission, of acknowledging that something is greater than you are. That is why I don’t have a problem when these players are kneeling during the anthem. They are still showing respect, albeit in a different way, and should not be condemned as such.
In a time where hurricanes are ravaging our coasts, climate change is affecting our earth, and we are trying to inhibit people’s pursuits of happiness, we should not be so bothered by the fact that football players are kneeling during the national anthem. We have more important things to worry about. #takeaknee