FLAG ON THE FIELD: WHY IS KNEELING OFFENSIVE?

Someone asked if I could explain why kneeling during the anthem to “protest systemic racism” is somehow “offensive.”

Let me try…ready?

1)
The announcer says “Please rise to honor America.”

We good?

2)
The NFL rule book says players must be on the field and do as the announcer says. Ok?

Perhaps a possible improvement could be that the rule book needs revision, or it could just be renamed “suggestions book” or “recommendations book” but such revisions haven’t yet been made.

Got all that so far?

3)
Neither the rule book nor the announcer says “rise to honor America if you aren’t opposed to systemic racism.”

Actually, the announcer doesn’t really give ANY valid reason for not rising.

Those are two really important facts that you may have overlooked. You might already be close to your “a-ha” moment.

4)
If not, then pay close attention to this point:

IF YOU DELIBERATELY DO THE OPPOSITE OF “RISE TO HONOR AMERICA” the only rational perception is that you are DISHONORING America.

Let me know if any part of that is still tripping you up.

5)
If kneeling ISN’T dishonoring America then the announcer should say “please stand OR kneel to honor America.”

Note: South Park already visualized what that might look like. It’s on YouTube. Hope that helps!

Wait…what’d you say?

They knelt…BEFORE the anthem played…?

Interesting…

Did the announcer say “please respect the ownership and players as they kneel together against institutional racism” or some such?

Because if he didn’t, I’m guessing that most people didn’t see it as kneeling against systemic racism.

The “breaking” tweets were NOT going to say “Jerry Jones kneels PRIOR to the anthem.”

Twitter is 140 characters. Less with images. There’s not much room for fine print and disclaimers.

No, after the stunts pulled by other teams that blew up in their faces, people didn’t expect “Jerry Jones kneels” to be trending. A lot of eyes were on Jones, because he had previously warned players that if they didn’t stand for the anthem, they (or at least one body part) would be off the team.

Instead, people saw Jones kneeling as “unity.”

Unity with Colin Kaepernick who depicted police as pigs on his socks.

Unity with Goodell who shamed the owners for not hiring Kaepernick after that.

Unity with those who knelt for America’s anthem but stood up for England’s.

You know, I’m starting to think that if you have to spend so much effort explaining WHY you’re not kneeling for the reasons most people watching a game are likely to perceive that you are…maybe kneeling anywhere close to the anthem isn’t the best avenue for your message.

Which is exactly what many of us have warned for a while now.

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