As professional sport begins to ramp up, once again Americans are left to ask…is it appropriate for professional athletes to kneel in protest as the anthem plays prior to their sporting events?
I’ve thought long and hard about this issue. As a Black American I have many strong and complicated feelings about the justice conversation these days. I think there is a lot that the rest of America doesn’t really know about us; about what we face individually as Black people and as a community; the intimate details of our culture that often fly under the radar in mainstream conversations. I’ve often loathed how dismissive some people can be about the very real struggles against bigotry and racism that still exist for many Black people in this country. I want people to be more aware of what ails us. I want people to pay more attention to what we put forth as solutions. I want America to know that just because they don’t see certain racial issues in their own lives doesn’t mean they don’t exist. I applaud athletes and celebrities who use their platforms to raise awareness for important issues, for things they care about.
Every American has the right to protest, to dissent and yes, to disrespect the flag. Burning the flag is constitutionally protected and so is kneeling before the flag in protests. The question isn’t about the right to do it, but rather if it is right to do it. If it is right to do it depends on timing and location.