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Last Friday at a campaign rally, President Trump stood in front of a majority white crowd in Alabama and called for the removal of NFL players who protest by taking a knee during the national anthem.
Seeing as the majority of the football and other athletes who have exercised their right to protest on nationally broadcasted platforms within the last year have been African-American, the response was swift and critical.
Trump’s aggression targets famous athletes, who some claim are unappreciative of their high status and who lack respect for the national anthem and the American flag.
The commotion is a resurfacing of the criticism of ex-San Francisco 49’ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his controversial decision to sit during the national anthem at football games last year.
However, there are many facts and misunderstandings that those who oppose the protests must face.
The original intent of Kaepernick’s protest was to open a dialogue of the lack of police accountability and racial justice within the country.
Many opposed to the protests, both last year and over the weekend, were selective in their criticism, categorizing the protest as a direct insult to members of military service, which the anthem often commemorates.
Certainly, the voices of service men and women are a crucial factor in the discussion. While some opposed the protest, there were others on social media who supported it.
Another huge issue is that standing for the anthem and saluting the flag are not the only true tests of patriotism. People who truly love this country also will fight to improve it.
The culture behind America’s consideration of these symbols versus human life and justice is something that cannot and will not be changed overnight.
Productive change requires revolutionary action in all applicable institutions, whether that may be in the justice system or the world of sports and celebrities.
There are many solutions and routes this country could approach in the hopes of remedying the concerns and injustices facing its citizens, but it must be attentive and inclusive in all conversations and policy changes.