Mary’s Musings

Not the time or the place

Posted:  Wednesday, October 4, 2017 - 8:45am

Americans are weighing in on the growing trend by National Football League players to take the knee during the playing of the National Anthem as a means of protesting racism in our country. There are strong feelings on both sides.

In the United States we’re privileged to enjoy the right to protest, and rallies, sit-ins, walk-outs, parades and other events take place almost daily. As citizens it’s our right to let our government officials and the rest of the world know when we disagree with what’s happening.Sometimes, the protests seem ill-conceived, poorly timed, and totally ineffective, but that doesn’t change the fact that they are legal.

We’ve tried to listen to the arguments of those who are choosing not to stand at attention for the National Anthem because many of them are sincere in what they are doing.However, we still have a big problem with their method of protest.

First of all, to protest during major league sports events seems to us to be a poor choice, indeed. Ask one hundred people, and 99 will probably tell you that they credit sports with helping improve race relations in this country. Racial minorities worked for years to prove their athletic ability and most of us would agree they’ve succeeded. They’ve proven themselves and while we won’t pretend that there may not still be jealousy and resentment among some players, we’ve all got to accept the fact that sports, probably more so than any other single factor, has, and is, making a big difference in easing race relations.

Why, then, of all of the avenues open for racial protests, have they chosen major league football as a starting point?It doesn’t make much sense to us. As for refusing to respect our national anthem, it’s inexcusable. Our flag represents the greatest nation on earth, and we should all be proud when it flies and our national anthem is sung.

The precedent being set by these professional athletes is having a far-reaching effect on thousands of citizens, among them our younger athletes, who are now tempted to jump on the band wagon.They look up to these professionals. What kind of message are we sending them?

If you’re dissatisfied with racial equality of lack of it in this country, feel free to protest, work for change, and try to make a positive difference but don’t choose national sporting events as the place to do it, and don’t show disrespect for our flag and national anthem. There are lots of positive ways to bring about change in this country but this isn’t one of them.