Sunday afternoon and evening we saw several NFL players show some form of solidarity with Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid. Some took knees (some with hands over their hearts). Others raised a single fist in the air, similar to the 1968 Mexico City Olympics protest. Others chose to stand and interlock arms.
Whatever your belief on the underlying issues, they were expressing their opinion on a matter. Although free speech can be restricted in a “private” setting, vigorous debate over important issues has been central to America’s development as a country. It can get ugly at times, but this debate has helped this country improve in a variety of ways.
Some would prefer to shut that down. Recently, an announcer at a high school football game in Alabama said that, “If you don’t want to stand for the national anthem, you can line up over there by the fence and let our military personnel take a few shots at you since they’re taking shots for you.”
Thankfully, the superintendent of that county’s schools offered up a statement against what the announcer said. It says something where someone has to say, “no, people shouldn’t be shot for expressing their opinion,” but it just goes to show where we still are in this country. It’s one thing to disagree with the expression, but to suggest people be shot?
I don’t think the announcer would actually line people up if he had the opportunity, because I think he’s too much of a coward, but clearly he has a problem with people expressing themselves in a manner with which he disagrees. We are improving as a country, but we still have a lot of work to do.