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A Better Way for Athletes to Protest That Will Bring Cheers, Not Smears

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Bernard Starr       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   7 comments

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opednews.com Headlined to H4 5/28/18

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San Francisco 49ers National Anthem Kneeling
(Image by commons. wikimedia.org)
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First protest, and then take back the flag and national anthem.

Athletes who are protesting racism in America are on the defensive. By not standing for the national anthem they have aroused public outrage. Unfortunately, the heightened emotions have pushed their legitimate message to the background.

That could change with a more effective way for players to protest--a way that would generate a broader debate about the grim turn that America has taken under the Trump administration. It would also throw the ball back into the court of those who are attacking athletes--and would bring the vital issues to center stage.

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In "taking the knee" and not joining in singing the national anthem, players have been condemned for anti-Americanism--the rejection of flag and country. President Trump has fueled the furor by declaring--in his usual statesmanlike style--that if an athlete takes the knee, the managers should "Get that son of a b*tch off the field;" he added that protesters "maybe shouldn't be in the country." He has also advised fans to leave the stadium if players kneel.

Now athletes face serious threats of sanctions if they continue to express their First Amendment rights.

In a new policy, the National Football League (NFL) will allow players to remain in the locker room during the playing of the national anthem. But if a player takes the field and kneels in protest the team will be fined--and the team can also fine the player.

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There's more reason for athletes to worry,

In 2016 Colin Kaepernick, quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, was first and alone in refusing to stand for the national anthem. He said: "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," As part of the restructuring of his contract Kaepernick became a free agent in March 2017. Despite an excellent record, no team has signed him leading many to believe he is being blackballed. This is supported by the stark fact that 50 quarterbacks have been signed since Kaepernick became a free agent.

Sadly, the players' method of protest has invited charges of disloyalty and lack of patriotism--when that is far from their intent.

In fact, rather than rejecting America, athletes--particularly African American ones--are protesting ugly trends and actions that oppress African Americans and discriminate against other minorities, the poor and immigrants--often encouraged by policies initiated by the Trump administration.

Momentum is building as other groups join athletes in professional and college sports in protesting these attacks on the democratic principles of social justice, diversity, inclusion, and compassion--the principles that have made America great and which are now losing traction.

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But "taking the knee" and remaining silent during the national anthem expresses only one side of their protest--the rejection of America's slide away from democracy. The missing other side could silence the critics and deliver a compelling message.

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Bernard Starr, PhD, is a psychologist and Professor Emeritus at CUNY (Brooklyn College). His latest book is "Jesus, Jews, And Anti-Semitism In Art:How Renaissance Art Erased Jesus' Jewish Identity & How Today's Artists Are Restoring (more...)
 

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Bernard Starr

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Let's take back America and make it what it should be. Let's not hand over the flag and anthem to those who would tear down America.

Submitted on Monday, May 28, 2018 at 1:55:31 PM

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Bill Johnson

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Every knee bender is a highly paid employee who is protesting while on the job. This is not acceptable.


They should do their protests off the clock and off the field and not offend tens of millions of paying customers who have turned their backs on the NFL fueling the change in policy.


Every knee bender who continues to violate the rules and offend paying customers should be banned from the NFL for all time and fired from all teams forever.


Respect private enterprise rights to control their own public image the knee benders have destroyed for them without permission too.


I yet to meet one person who cheers the unAmericans of this country.


We cheer for patriots, not enemies of this country.


Expand the NFL boycott!

Submitted on Monday, May 28, 2018 at 3:42:20 PM

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Carol R Campbell

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I disagree with both the author and Bill Johnson.

Blacks, and other Minorities in 'America' - which is Not 'America' BTW, but only a small portion of it - cannot take back something that was never theirs.

The USA has always been the Land of the Conquerors: European, Wealthy, White, Men. Until the rest of us realize that, and join the rest of the Disenfranchised Minorities, we will never be the Land we claim to be.

Raise your Fist with Pride. If that fist is not Black, raise the Red Fist of the Poor: The Overworked, and the Under Paid. The Red Flag of Workers, and Poor, whatever their Color, must be seen, and United, in our Goal.

Liberty and Justice for All - Not just The Top 10 Percent!

Submitted on Monday, May 28, 2018 at 8:31:25 PM

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Bernard Starr

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If you raise your fist in protest but surrender flag and country to the oppressors what is the next step? What is the strategy behind handing flag and country over to the destructive forces? It may look good and feel good but if you don't take the country back and place it in the hands of democratic, progressive, and compassionate leadership little will change. Protest without positive action is falling for the con man's playbook.

Submitted on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 at 3:38:15 AM

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Carol R Campbell

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Double posted Sorry!

Submitted on Monday, May 28, 2018 at 8:32:22 PM

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Dennis Kaiser

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This is but another 'issue' that keeps people occupied while the nation is being taken from them. Isn't it a bit shameful to have so much more written and discussed when a black man kneels for the National Anthem than when a white terrorist kills children in our schools?

IMHO it is much more disrespectful to our flag and our National Anthem when the person singing uses their own rendition rather than showing the respect the anthem deserves. The singer is showing maybe they cannot sing the anthem as it is intended or they are attempting to single themselves, thus self-promoting. The silent kneeler is at least bringing attention to a travesty in our society.

Also, the author makes the comment to infer this has occurred as a result of Trump. Check the date of when this first became an 'issue' and I believe Trump wasn't President at that time.

Submitted on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 at 12:23:17 PM

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Bernard Starr

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This has not occurred because of Trump but, as I said in the article, his actions and recent comments have fueled the furor and has given license to the oppressors.

Submitted on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 at 12:42:14 PM

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