Our View: When both sides are right, what's important?

Published on Monday, 25 September 2017 19:14
Written by

What can garner more attention than a Donald Trump tweet? An entire football team - in fact, many of them - ‘taking a knee’ or locking arms at a National Football League game.

Both were making a peaceful statement. And, from where we sit, both were right.

The president took the position, one that most of us would agree with, that certain national symbols, including the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem, deserve respect.

He was reacting to a handful of players, including former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who protested police brutality toward racial minorities. Kaepernick’s action, “taking a knee” during the anthem, was essentially a way to peacefully exercise his Constitutional right to free speech.

In response, Trump demanded that team owners “fire or suspend” players who kneel during the national anthem and called on fans to boycott games if the form of protest continued.

On Sunday, the players had a response of their own: more than 130 of them sat, knelt or raised their fist in defiance.

Frankly, we find it very unlikely that the NFL would fire 130 of its star players or cancel a football season that brings in millions in revenue - nor would their millions of fans want them to.

Instead, we hope that Trump and his supporters ‘hear’ what the players are saying and realize that kneeling has long been a form of nonviolent protest.

One of the first to use this symbol was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

His daughter, Bernice, wrote Saturday, “The real shame and disrespect is that, decades after the 1st photo (of her father taking a knee), racism still kills people and corrupts the system.”

Posted in New Britain Herald, Editorials on Monday, 25 September 2017 19:14. Updated: Monday, 25 September 2017 19:17.