Anthem protests lack substance


Jaime Yaukey

According to the United States Code, Title 36 (Section 171) “During rendition of the National Anthem when the flag is displayed, all present except those in uniform should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart.” The code says that people should stand to face the flag, but don’t have to. It’s the citizen’s choice whether he/she stands for the Anthem. However, just because he/she has the option doesn’t mean it’s the right choice to make. Colin Kaepernick, NFL quarterback for the San Franscisco 49ers, made the decision not to stand for the National Anthem, and he created a big commotion.

Many believe that Kaepernick should be forced to stand for the flag, regardless of the United States Code. One of the main reasons that people think Kaepernick should be forced to stand for the National Anthem is because he needs to respect the country he has the gift of living in, America. Not all countries have the freedom that America does, and he’s lucky he has the opportunity to live here- yet instead of showing respect to what the country offers him, he decides to kneel because of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Kaepernick thinks that America is not treating black people the same as white people, referring to all the recent deaths of black people from white police officers. Kneeling is bringing attention to the matter, but other than receiving attention, it isn’t bringing a positive change. Kneeling doesn’t actually bring a change- he needs to do something more- like starting an organization for the cause. The flag itself is supposed to stand for our freedom, so kneeling during the Anthem for your own flag is basically protesting the rights that our own country is giving us.

It is disrespectful to all the men and women who have served our country to get us where we are today. Many of those men and women have died, unable to return home to their families, just for America’s freedom. Kaepernick is supposed to be an influential figure for people to look up to, but he is only acting dishonorably. He thinks that he can help the movement by protesting against America, but he is making himself look ungrateful in what America offers for him.

Brandon Marshall, a linebacker for the Denver Broncos, has also been kneeling for the National Anthem recently while it’s played during the beginning of the football game. However, during his last game, he decided to stand. On an Instagram post, Marshall explained his reasoning for standing, and his idea was that he has hope for what America can become. He knows that kneeling won’t change things immediately, but he hopes he will make a positive impact in other ways.  Kaepernick and Marshall have the same views about how they think America is treating certain races unfairly, but Marshall still stands because he found a new way to try to change things. Marshall is going to recognize and support organizations that are making real differences in the community, and will do his part to be there for those in need. Kaepernick should take Marshall’s idea and stand with him, while still donating to organizations and still standing, literally, for what he believes in.