February 4, 2018 at 9:44 pm #2205
This week’s article is “How the National Anthem Got Tangled Up With American Sports” by Tevi Troy. This article discuss the controversy of NFL players kneeling during the national anthem. What are your thoughts on the articles? Do you believe that players should stand? How do you view the protests as a whole? Come discuss on our forums with other HP MUNC members.
Please keep all discussion civil.February 5, 2018 at 12:36 am #2209
Dylan J. TullochParticipant
I believe that players should stand, just because America is so awesome that all of them get paid hundreds of thousands of dollars a year if not millions to play football once a week. These players that protest don’t actually care about the issue, otherwise they would give their money to support these causes or speak out against the larger threats instead of the very infrequent yet unfortunate incidents like the constant black on black crime in inner cities.
Additionally, one Steelers’ player, Alejandro Villanueva, who was a US Army Ranger, stood for the national anthem while the rest of his team stayed in the locker room. He was then forced by the team to apologize for his patriotism. That is quite unfortunate. No one should be shamed for loving this country, especially not one who served in our Army.
Regardless, Trump was on point with how he started this. If you haven’t seen the speech, he basically says that he would enjoy it if an NFL owner fired a player who knelt for the National Anthem. This resonated with many Americans especially when the next week or too were followed by NFL players kneeling or staying in the locker room for the National Anthem. This is evident in the videos online of all sorts of fans burning their sports gear due to the “anti-American” sentiments of the players. One man in one of these videos quite simply stated that if the players weren’t going to support the nation, then they shouldn’t be supported by that nation buying that player’s gear.
It essentially comes down again to players expressing their opinions and their employers freely expressing theirs.February 5, 2018 at 8:29 pm #2211
Well Dylan, I would pose a question to you to understand your full position:
1. If the players came out of the locker room holding guns and said they were expressing their right to bear arms…should they be fired or criticized for it? Although it is more threatening, it remains a form of symbolic speech. The difference is the opinion being expressed. Of course, you can fire someone on the grounds of disagreeing with their opinion. But the firing does amount to a certain level of censorship because the executive is using their power to silence an opinion they disagree with. I believe that censorship is inherently un-American especially with the First Amendment being a thing.
Second, the fans online saying that players don’t support the nation, that’s too bad for those fans. There is no law making it illegal to kneel during the national anthem. For the fans that think kneeling is disrespectful or immoral, read the article about how Colin Kaepernick met with a veteran to discuss it.
Lastly, I agree that Alejandro Villanueva should not be forced to apologize for his actions. However, I don’t understand why you’d think the forced apology is wrong. Isn’t your argument that owners can express themselves by firing players and wouldn’t the firing of Alejandro Villanueva have been just that? In the United States we have a system that protects speech whether we agree with the message or not. It cannot be that when we agree with Alejandro Villanueva we protect his speech and say that the threat to fire him is ridiculous, but when other players express themselves the threat to fire them is the correct course of action.February 6, 2018 at 12:10 am #2212
Dylan J. TullochParticipant
Again, because the stadium is a private area, if there is a rule there against guns in the arena, then he may face a risk of being fired. Because it is a private area owned and operated by a private group privately hiring and firing its employees, the general questions of freedoms provided by the Constitution are lost to a degree. By entering a stadium or signing an NFL contract, you consent to the rules put in place by that franchise. If one rule was that you must stand for the national anthem and a player refused, that player would have violated a part of the contract that they consented to ergo waiving their employment should the employer deem it. I do think that if there was no previously held understanding that players on the team should not kneel for the National Anthem, then they probably shouldn’t be fired, but if there was, then they may deserve it (not on the grounds of lacking patriotism, just violating a rule of the organization). During the football season, McGlynn said that if anyone knelt or made a political statement of sorts during the National Anthem, he would remove them from the team. No one did and thus no one was removed from the team. Players like Kaepernick receive a warning that if they repeat the stunt or continue to drag it out in the press they may face termination and then are shocked to find out that their boss wasn’t bluffing about firing a second string qb who had under performed the last couple of seasons.
The difference between Alejandro Villanueva and many of his teammates are the values they displayed to their fan bases. Alejandro showed love, loyalty, and patriotism while knowing that he was the only one on his team that would be doing so. His teammates showed either a form of disdain, compromise, or something similar to either. There is a reason that in the week following that game Alejandro’s jersey was selling more than almost any other football gear. Why? Because it turns out that people, especially in Middle America, that love of America is considered a good thing and not a normality.February 6, 2018 at 8:24 pm #2213
But you’re missing the point Dylan. My question is, could the Steelers fire Alejandro Villanueva for loving his country? Because if the answer to that question is no, then you can’t fire someone for not loving the country. In Texas v. Johnson (the flag burning case) the Supreme Court ruled, the fact that an audience takes offense to certain ideas or expression does not justify prohibitions of speech. I argue that whatever standard you use must be applied in all cases regardless of how much any part of America likes or dislikes the sentiment. Also, it’s important to note that simply because you are in a football stadium or privately owned area, that does not diminish the authority of the First Amendment. Furthermore, unless you can prove that a contractual obligation for players is to stand for the national anthem, I need not address that because as far as I know standing for the anthem is not written into players contracts.February 6, 2018 at 8:24 pm #2214
I’d like to point out Dylan that Levi Stadium, the stadium that Collin Kaepernick played in is operated by a public organization, the Santa Clara Stadium Authority, making it publicly owned as a tax exempt public authority. But more importantly, when did protest become unpatriotic, when it is done in a respectful and peaceful manner(kneeling silently is about as respectful and peaceful a protest I can think of), protest is patriotic. Soldiers died to ensure that Americans’ have the right to protest and the right to express their views and to say that using their constitutional right to protest is unpatriotic is antithetical to the entire concept of being patriotic.February 12, 2018 at 10:46 pm #2237
Also Dylan, my dad posed a question for you: If an NFL team owner said that all their players must kneel during the anthem or else be fired, would you support that?
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