My family does not support the Susan G. Komen Foundation because it subsidizes killing children. It also has pushed a glorious campaign of wearing pink to raise awareness about breast cancer that I find wasteful and ineffective. Wearing pink does not cure breast cancer.
In the same way, taking a knee before the national anthem does not cure injustice and it probably does more harm than good. Deciding to protest at that moment in the game designed to bring all the fans and players together in a shared commonality of Americanness does nothing but divide people. It does more harm than good. And now, naturally, because the left cannot help itself, they have declared that you are either with those on their knees or with white supremacists.
How about being with the American flag?
When Rosa Parks sat on the bus, she was highlighting an injustice that affected her directly. When those who sat at the counters at Woolworths refused to leave, they highlighted an injustice that affected them directly. But a millionaire taking a knee on a football field and then earning a large pay check is a cheap protest. The only thing it has done is given the left an opportunity to return quickly to its worst impulses to label every bit of dissent racist and part of white supremacy.
If NFL players are that concerned about injustice, then they should use their fame and fortune to raise awareness in a way that doesn’t drag politics into what should be an escape from politics. If they, in numbers, joined together to highlight the abuses they say are there (and those abuses are real), even the fans who do not want the politics in the game would be forced to pay attention. The media coverage would be huge.
These players really could shed a light on abuse by police, which is real. They could shed a light on the poor, the homeless, and so much more in the country. But instead, they did a cheap protest of little consequence, taking a symbol of national unity and making it divisive.
And yes, for a great many Americans, it is an absurd protest to see a man who makes millions of dollars a year refuse to honor the flag and anthem of the country that blessed him so.
Wearing pink isn’t going to cure breast cancer. Giving money will help. Taking a knee on the football field won’t stop injustice. But showing up together in Falcon Heights, MN to help make Philando Castile a household name across the nation would help stop injustice. Joining together to call on the President to take seriously the issue would have turned the issue on its head. After all, this is the President who told black voters that the other side had been taking advantage of them and he would truly help them.
The players have every right to protest and Donald Trump could have transcended politics instead of getting in the gutter to address the protest. But the players could have found a more effective protest than dividing the nation before a football game.