Face Off: The US flag is more than fabric

Do you remember when your parents told you, “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it?” This statement relates to my feelings toward the recent controversial actions among NFL players.

Some players have knelt during the national anthem in protest, while other teams have stayed in the locker rooms, not showing their faces until game time.

The message athletes are trying to send is indeed one worth listening to; however, I’m not quite sure if this approach is the right one.

The American flag and national anthem stand for more than just the country and its values.

Our flag — its 50 stars and 13 stripes — stands for the 241 years of democracy, freedom, and both the good and bad that America has endured.

It is a symbol that reminds us that our freedom is not free; hundreds of thousands of men and women are deployed across the globe, sacrificing time with their families. They risk their safety to ensure ours and to guarantee that we live as one united nation.

How do these protests make the U.S. Army feel? How about the Navy, the Coast Guard, the Air Force, the

Many NFL athletes have knelt during the national anthem, causing controversy across the nation. Some feel the players are exercising their First Amendment rights while others view the protest as disrespectful.

Marines and the National Guard?

Personally, I have a number of friends and family members who are currently serving in the U.S. military, and I certainly would not disrespect their work and the service they have done for this country.

Let’s remember that there is a country just across the Pacific Ocean that is capable of launching weapons of mass destruction at us at any moment.

How do these protests make us look to other countries? Strong? Absolutely not. They make us appear as we are: divided.

We are a nation divided, and division doesn’t win wars. Unity does.

While we don’t have a football team here at Rider, college football coaches around the nation are also talking about the protests. Nick Hill is the head coach at Southern Illinois and a former NFL player.

He and Southeast Missouri State Head Coach Tom Matukewicz both agreed that this conflict would “lead to nowhere good,” according to interviews with the Heartland News. “This is a real thing. It’s a huge issue. And we’ve got to come together as a country,” Hill said.

I’ll reiterate once more: I don’t have a problem with the objective of the protest. It’s an issue that people should work on together to create a better society.

I do recognize that this protest is a freedom of expression, a right which is granted by the First Amendment. However, never will I support an NFL player — or anyone for that matter — who kneels during the presentation of the Star-Spangled Banner.

This editorial expresses the minority opinion of The Rider News and was written by the social media editor, Joseph Passero.

Printed in the 10/4/17 issue. 

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