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Focus on reasons behind kneeling, not kneeling itself

Students+choose+to+stand+during+the+pledge+of+allegiance+in+their+second+hour+class.++Controversy+over+standing+or+kneeling+during+the+national+anthem+has+become+controversial+in+the+NFL.
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Focus on reasons behind kneeling, not kneeling itself

Students choose to stand during the pledge of allegiance in their second hour class.  Controversy over standing or kneeling during the national anthem has become controversial in the NFL.

Students choose to stand during the pledge of allegiance in their second hour class. Controversy over standing or kneeling during the national anthem has become controversial in the NFL.

•Correspondent Files

Students choose to stand during the pledge of allegiance in their second hour class. Controversy over standing or kneeling during the national anthem has become controversial in the NFL.

•Correspondent Files

•Correspondent Files

Students choose to stand during the pledge of allegiance in their second hour class. Controversy over standing or kneeling during the national anthem has become controversial in the NFL.

Quinn Cunningham

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Week 3 of the NFL season began with dozens of teams kneeling during the national anthem, an action that has become a regularity for Sunday afternoons. What started as a message against police brutality, transformed into the Colin Kaepernick circus, and has now become a protest against the President, Donald Trump.

The action came as a response to Trump tweeting, “Sports fans should never condone players that do not stand proud for their National Anthem or their Country. NFL should change policy!” I understand the motivation behind the protest; NFL players feel unfairly attacked and want to unite and show they will not be bullied by the President. However, their choice of protest is incredibly counter-productive. At this point Donald Trump has shown the nation who is his: immature, insecure, and far too trigger-happy with his tweets.

Sadly though, it is naive to think our President will ever become “more presidential.” NFL players have transformed their criticism of Donald Trump into seemingly criticism of the flag, military, and patriotism: all values that most Americans hold dearly.

Now, I understand NFL players are not trying to denigrate any of those values. But they have to be conscious of how their message will be perceived. Many people see this action and think it is disrespectful to veterans and people who have died for this country.

So now, instead of talking about how ineffective and childish Donald Trump has been as a leader, we are talking about NFL players lack of “patriotism.” These teams have made Donald Trump to be the protector of the flag and military. People who have deep respect for the flag and national anthem and who may agree with NFL players that Donald Trump is an ineffective President are now caught in a position in which they side with Trump. Trump wins when this happens.

Don’t let the choice of protest distract from what they protest is really about. We Americans should not be debating whether or not it is appropriate to kneel during the anthem; instead, we should debate the effectiveness of Donald Trump’s presidency.

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Focus on reasons behind kneeling, not kneeling itself