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Land of the Free, Home of the Kneeling?

Land of the Free, Home of the Kneeling?

On Sunday, I made the decision to boycott the NFL. I have watched with offense over the disrespect for our flag and anthem by Colin Kaeperneck and thereafter other NFL players with the culmination of the Steelers refusing to come out of the locker room. I am a tremendous supporter of Freedom and I do believe in their right to protest if they so choose. That being said, acknowledgement of that right is not a promise that I won’t take offense to how they choose to do it. I believe strongly in the right to protest. I fought for your right to do so under the 1st amendment, but my disagreement over this, has led many to call me a racist, a bigot, and someone who does not understand Freedom. I have been told on Twitter that I need to stop making this political; that the flag is merely an object and their right to kneel is protected by Freedom and I should stop being a horrible person fighting against their rights.

The problem with those statements is, they are the height of hypocrisy. Our nation is far from perfect. But when you compare our nation to thousands of years of history, there has been no nation in the history of the world that has provided more opportunity and Freedom to its citizens and immigrants than the United States of America. No company, individual, state or nation is without its blemishes and America has her fair share. But our strengths and successes far outweigh our dark times and failures. No nation on earth has given more aid and has more of it’s sons and daughters buried on foreign soil than America. No nation on earth has led more people of every race, color and creed to fame, fortune and success than here. And that Freedom and opportunity is captured in years of lives sacrificed, and that sacrifice is symbolized directly through our flag and national anthem. I know them all too well as I served 21 years in the United States Navy with the SEAL Teams. The flag and what is represents goes far beyond an object; for me, it represents honor, service and sacrifice. And I have watched it drape the coffins of too many brothers who fought for others rights to protest and live in Freedom.

The National Anthem was written by Francis Scott Key during the battle of Baltimore Harbor against the British Empire. We were fighting for injustices, inequalities and the future of America. And his song fully captures that struggle and the pride he felt after a pitched battle through the night, but our flag still proudly waved the following morning. Torn, tattered, shot through, but still a representation of the fight for Freedom. This is why I take such offense to the NFL’s method of protest. Why disrespect the very nation, flag and anthem that gives you that Freedom to speak and protest? Why can’t players find more creative ways to protest instead of kneeling, turning their backs, and refusing to come out of the locker room during the anthem? Too many people have sacrificed so that those players could be on that field and play the game that they love and get paid millions to play. For those reasons, I can no longer support the NFL or anyone who disrespects our flag. And don’t try and tell me it is not meant to disrespect the flag. Unfortunately whether intentional or not, it disrespects the flag and the sacrifices made for it. ┬áIf a young wounded warrior in a wheel chair can stand up in his chair on amputated legs and show respect for our nation, than there should be no able bodied American citizen who is not willing to do the same. I support your freedom to protest racial inequality but if you tell me kneeling against the flag is truly not political, than show me you believe in the greatness of America and find another way.

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