The Echoes

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Taking a Stand by Taking a Knee

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Every weekend on TV’s across the country, people tune in to watch their favorite football team. Whether at the college or professional level, football is a major source of entertainment and revenue in America.

Even though the sport is popular and gets a lot of publicity, both good and bad, clearly there are some controversial issues in question.

Between Colin Kaepernick exercising his First Amendment rights and Greg Hardy throwing his girlfriend onto a bed of assault rifles, both issues have received an excess amount of media attention. However, it’s safe to say kneeling for the national anthem and domestic violence are both serious issues plaguing the NFL even though one takes place on the field and one takes place off of it.

Last year Kaepernick made waves when he famously knelt during the National Anthem at an exhibition game against the San Diego Chargers. In return, he received an insane amount of criticism for his decision to express support for the black lives matter movement.

Kaepernick also had to cope with right wing conservatives coming out of the woodwork and believed that because he didn’t stand for the anthem with his hand over his heart, he was a criminal.

The First Amendment gives everyone the right to freedom of speech. Therefore, Kaepernick wasn’t breaking any laws or hurting a single soul by taking a knee during the anthem.

There’s an extensive list of players that have committed acts of domestic violence against a significant other. Some of the most notable are Adrian Peterson, Greg Hardy, Ray Rice and most recently, Ezekiel Elliot. All were involved in violence against women.

Even though they all received punishments for their actions (some more than others) the public was not as concerned by someone knocking their girlfriend unconscious in an elevator than another successful athlete standing up for what he believed in in a peaceful manner.

Another important aspect to take into consideration is the business side of the NFL. As viewers, we don’t see teams as businesses and owners as the CEO’s doing what’s best for the company.

Colin Kaepernick is currently a free agent and teams are hesitant to offer him a contract because of all the controversy he brings with his million dollar arm. The Dolphins brought Jay Cutler out of retirement when there was a perfectly good quarterback (ahem, Colin Kaepernick) readily available.

But just put yourself in the shoes of a general manager for a minute. Wouldn’t you much rather have someone on your team that chose to take a peaceful stance on a social issue than someone who hits their significant other?

Peaceful protesting definitely has a more positive connotation than domestic violence charges.

The argument so many people hurled at Kaepernick was he was disrespecting the men and women who sacrificed their lives for our country, but that isn’t necessarily the case. The people that so bravely fight for our country, do it to protect everyone’s freedoms.

Freedoms such as the First Amendment.

We wouldn’t be living in the land of the free and the home of the brave if we were all forced to stand up and put our right hand over our hearts like robots. Part of the reason people are drawn to America is because we get to express our opinions by standing up and speaking out about things we believe in.

All political views aside, we need to look at the bigger picture by asking ourselves a daunting question. Why do we allow athletes that have domestic abuse charges and repeatedly disrespect women to have a football career, but not individuals who choose to peacefully protest?

As a country, we’re basically turning the other cheek to athletes with serious offenses and telling others that do no wrong they don’t deserve to play. And that folks, is not very “American”.

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Taking a Stand by Taking a Knee