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Respect, a basic moral value, should come before a constitutional right. Respect and constitutional rights are two very important topics that, unless further investigated, can cause issues. These topics have been brought to sports games, thus causing issue. The Star Spangled Banner, a highly revered song that is sung before many of these games, bears a weight of unfair to itself. Because of the great amount of respect around the anthem, this peaceful protest has spurred multiple sides of argument. Many are arguing how disrespectful these protests are while others fight back with the first amendment. Some say they have the right to protest, but is this really worth it? No, in fact, it is causing more protests where there is no need for more. While the first amendment is a constitutional right, there are controversies over the time and place for the protest. During the national anthem is the wrong time. Sitting or kneeling during the national anthem should not be conducted as it is disrespectful to the nation and military.
Kneeling during the national anthem is being recognized as disrespectful by top tier military officials. Officials are beginning to look on in disbelief. Many people in the military believe that people disrespecting the anthem, are disrespecting the military, where in a way, this is true. The national anthem was written during a time of war and shows that in the lyrics. This bridges the connection between the anthem and the military. Military and people in the force believe they have more authority than a lazy American watching the football game where really. This is true, and many are becoming disgruntled at the fact. One Marine Colonel, Jeffrey A. Powers, comments upon the disrespect. Powers remarks in a letter to the NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, “Now I watch multi-millionaire athletes who never did anything in their lives but play a game, disrespect what brave Americans fought and died for. They are essentially spitting in the faces and on the graves of real men, men who have actually done something for this country beside playing with a ball and believing they’re something special!” This exhibits anger that Powers was overcome by, and prompted him to write the letter to the Commissioner. As a member in the armed forces, Powers believes it to be a sign of disrespect towards the armed forces and branches alike. When singing the anthem before a game or any other time, it is almost a standard to be standing, and sometimes saluting, in honor of those who have fought and are currently fighting. Military personnel like Colonel Powers deserve respect yet they feel they are being disrespected by these foolish acts of protest. Many people often plead the first amendment in this debate, however that does not constitute disrespectfulness and making people of higher rank feel put down. People need to know that there is a time and place for everything. It is out of a common courtesy that people watch what they do and say.
Kneeling during the national anthem is disrespectful to the anthem’s history. The national anthem is meant to be a time before the game where Americans are brought together. A time before two teams go head to head in an all-out brawl with people cheering them on. The anthem can almost be thought of as the calm before the storm. David Brooks of the New York Times believes that it bonds the American populous together as well, bringing everyone together to root on their favorite team. In an article by Brooks, he states “This American creed gave people a sense of purpose and a high ideal to live up to. It bonded them together” (Brooks). The anthem is sung before a game to bring people of the nation together, not create a great divide like it is. People are supposed to feel a sense of bonding while singing, not a feeling of protest and hate. Brooks makes the point that Martin Luther King Jr. sung the anthem prior to his most famous speech, I Have a Dream. King’s speech was meant to unite people in a positive way, and use the national anthem as a supportive device, giving a stronger meaning the anthem. Kneeling at this time of song is extremely unpatriotic, as it seems it is a rebellion to all of the past moral values and bonds the anthem has encircled. Many people believe they are entitled to the first amendment, the right to free speech which in fact, they are. But just because one has the freedom of speech does not mean saying or doing something is not disrespectful or appropriate. Good judgement needs to be made, and people need to be aware of the time and place. It needs to be realized that kneeling during a nationally acclaimed song is not the time to protest.
Completely disrespectful and inconsiderate, kneeling during the national anthem is selfish and the opposite of productive. With the argument of what is right and what is wrong, it is key that people are educated on their standings. Given the example of a funeral or wake, people don’t go around saying ‘get over it.’ It is disrespectful and inconsiderate so why should we as a nation go about with a lack of respect? Without basic knowledge of this topic, people are bound to support a side they may not be for one hundred percent. As David Brooks writes, “I watch multi-millionaire athletes who never did anything in their lives but play a game” (Brooks). Brooks has an obvious stand in opposition of this protest, which is understandable because it is utterly disrespectful. A lack of respect for the national anthem is foolish, ignorant, and counter productive.
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