The other day, I stumbled upon a quote by an unknown author that goes as follows; “There is no such thing as right or wrong, there is only cause and effect.” This quote speaks volumes in a society fueled by situations that quickly escalate because of social media. Social media gives a voice to the unheard, but the problem is that people are ready to condemn others without completely looking at every aspect of the situation. There really is no such thing in this world as a right or a wrong thing to do; however, individuals have his or her own opinion about everything/ For example, Kaepernick’s decision to take a knee for the National Anthem. Right or wrong depends on one’s opinion and which side of the debate one chooses. Various people will have different opinions on the subject. As such, when debating the issue, answers from one side of the argument are thoughts that one may never contemplate and the same hold true for each counterargument. It seems counterintuitive that Kaepernick’s cause was just an effect of the problem of police brutality in America. The simple truth is, Kaepernick’s action was a single cause, that resonates major effects across America.
Outrage in mainstream America appears to be Kaepernick’s largest contribution to his argument. For generations, the playing of the national anthem has been a sacred ritual before many sporting events around the country. This anthem is not only to honor the country and the American flag, but a time to reflect and honor the service men and women that fight for freedoms at a time when Americans feel as much loss from war as World war II. Military families, both past and present, are insulted by Kaepernick’s kneeling. Even the newly elected President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, issued a statement via twitter saying, “Very important that NFL players STAND tomorrow, and always, for the playing our National Anthem. Respect our Flag and our country!”. The Commander in Chief also ordered the owners of NFL teams to dismiss any players that kneel for the Anthem.
In addition to the public outrage, NFL ticket sales and network rating s plummeted as confirmed by ticket sellers such as Tickpick and TicketCity. As professional football transformed into an entertainment business with some sport sprinkled into it, the game changed from the rough and tough players heroes like Dick Butkus, Jack Lambert, Earl Campbell, Decan Jones, and company. People now atted NFL games to drink a few beers, relax with some family and friends, and watch tremendous athletes display their talents which are making big time plays and entertaining fans. Speaking with long time football enthusiast, Chuck Nucci, he explained that he does not want to watch the NFL when it is involved with politics. Nucci states, “I love football and I watch it for the love of the game. As soon as politics are involved, it’s not enjoyment anymore”. Many Americans feel the same as Nucci which explains the rapid decline in NFL ticket sales.
Like the NFL, collegiate football suffers from Kaepernick’s actions. Rowan University, along with other American colleges, now retain the players in the locker room until the national anthem is over. I have a personal experience as a football player; I would step onto the field, ready to hear the National Anthem and pay homage to our flag, country, service men and women only to find out the Anthem had already been played for the fans, and not for the players. Personally for me, the time before a game when I would hear the anthem was a time of great pride, and gave me chills. I would look at Old Glory waving in the wind, and think how thankful I was to play the great game of football in the greatest country in the world. “The Star- Spangled Banner” actually psyched me up as I prepared for “battle” as players and coaches call it. Many of my peers would often feel the same disappointment along with me, no matter the color of their skin, because the playing of the national anthem is a time to honor, not a time to protest.
Kaepernick’s kneeling was also an eye opener to a lot of people, including myself. I personally follow NFL news pretty closely, and I’m not sure if him not being able to find a job as an NFL quarterback has made bigger headlines than just NFL Network. Since Kaepernick decided to defy the only thing that everybody knew, which was standing for the National Anthem, he cannot find a job anywhere. No NFL team wants to bring him on the roster because he peacefully protested, which is his constitutional right to do. His protest might have been seen as “disrespectful to the servicemen and women,” but he did not make a mockery out of the Anthem like some players are doing now. Nobody wants to put their name out for Kaepernick, but they will for players like LeSean McCoy of the Buffalo Bills. McCoy was seen stretching, and absolutely making a mockery of the National Anthem, and the Buffalo Bills owner and staff had nothing to comment on the matter. This is a double standard, because both men did not participate in the National Anthem, but one did it peacefully, and one made a mockery out of the deal. If McCoy’s actions were not held against him and he is still employed, Kaepernick’s actions, and decision to take a knee and start a peaceful protest should not be held against him.
There have been many causes and effects that came from Kaepernicks decision to take a knee in the preseason game on August 26th, 2016, from outrage, to unemployment. Any way you slice it, Kaepernick made history with his actions, and with history there is going to be some sort of disagreement. Either way you look at it, either idolizing Kaepernick for his courage, or look down on him for his blatant “disrespect,” there is no such thing as right or wrong, there is only cause and effect.
Berr, Jonathan. “NFL National Anthem Protest Denting Ticket Sales.” CBS News, CBS Interactive, 29 Sept. 2017, http://www.cbsnews.com/news/nfl-national-anthem-protest-denting-ticket-sales/.
Branch, John. “Please Rise for Our National Anthem — If You’Re Not Too Busy.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 1 Oct. 2017, http://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/01/sports/football/nfl-anthem-protest.html.
Nucci, Chuck. Personal Interview 10, November 2017.