Trojan Tribune

Protests, Anthems, and Football

Alyssa Patil, Anonymous, and Sahil Chugani

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Alyssa Patil

I used to love talking “politics”. It was a welcomed challenge. I don’t love it anymore. It’s exhausting, the fact that I have to explain why we should value clean water over money, or providing rest for refugees. It’s exhausting that I need to explain why you should care about other people and their rights.
So let’s gets started. 
We have the argument that taking a knee disrespects the flag. Yet we use that flag to sell beer, and cars, and we wear that flag on swimsuits. Can someone please explain to me how this is any more respectful?
And now, we have white men marching with the confederate flag, and the Nazi flag. And that’s allowed, because we have the freedom of speech. You are allowed to say every stupid thought that pops in your head because the first amendment is sticking up for you.
And the first amendment was not implemented so you could feel comfortable, cozily wrapped in your American flag blanket. No, it was written so the people could have a voice, and use it.
Might I also add that nowhere, in the constitution or in any of the amendments, does it say that you must stand for the anthem.
It is clear even Nazis stand for the anthem. Are they now representing the America we all love?
The constitution and the amendments were written by those who loved and fought for this country. I would like to think that they cared more about the ideals of our nation than if whether or not someone is standing for the flag.
It is hypocritical to demand respect for our flag when we do not respect the people of this country, when we do not respect the rights and freedoms this country in known for.
Let’s not reframe this, let’s not turn this issue into something else. Those who are kneeling are not disrespecting the troops. They are not disrespecting the flag, the anthem, our country.
They are upset about the racial injustice in this country, and now it is more so that many are upset about what has been said by the president.
I wish I could just tell you all to not be distracted. Do not be so snagged on a tweet that you fail to notice that we have no healthcare, parts of our country are in distress from natural disasters, and our recent communication with North Korea could lead to a military conflict. But it’s not that easy.
It took our president days to address the white men marching with Nazi flags. And when he finally did, it was to remind America that they were good people there too. Yet he does not hesitate to go after the black athlete who peacefully protests.
I do not remember our president calling for Nazis to be fired, or even using terms like SoBs.
Do you know why people are kneeling?
Racism, you might say.
That is what it began with, calling attention to racism, starting during Obama’s presidency. But now they kneel because the president has called for the firing of private citizens who have chosen to exercise their freedom of speech, expressing an opinion the president does not agree with. That should scare you.
Furthermore, it was a peaceful protest. There was no intent on being disrespectful. If there was, I would think they would’ve come up with a better idea than “oh let’s kneel, silently. That’ll get them.”
And then there is talk of respecting our troops. I am all for respecting our military. But they do not fight so you can decide what rights we can and cannot exercise. They did not die so you can decide what is and is not patriotic.
Can I ask, what is patriotism? Is it knowing when to stand and when to sit during a game? Or is it knowing to stand for the fundamental values of the country, values like the freedom of expression? Asking for a friend.


 This writer would like to remain anonymous

  Lately there has been a lot of talk about NFL athletes kneeling for our national anthem in protest. The beautiful thing about this, is that since they live here in the United States they have the freedom to do so and I respect them for that. They aren’t yelling, cursing, or rioting; they are kneeling silently in protest. I am not writing this to tell them they shouldn’t be doing this, but I am writing this asking Why? And what exactly are they protesting? The NFL? The United States? The National Anthem? No. They claim they are protesting police brutality towards African Americans.
  First of all, should these athletes be role models, or people who make big political actions? If you ask me, no. They are getting paid for one reason and one reason only, to play their sport so that we can be entertained. Now let’s look at the statistics. According to the Washington Post, in 2016, over 900 people in the United States were killed by police. By July of 2016, just over 500 people were killed, and 2/3 of those people were white, while only 13% were black. You are more likely to be shot and killed by police if you are black because there are fewer black people living in the United States than whites. Therefore, the ratio of black to white people being shot is higher. I’ll let you, the reader, decide if this fact is of relevance or not.
  According to the FBI, a police officer is 18 times more likely to be killed by a black person than a cop killing an unarmed black man. And finally, since 2000 there have been 855 NFL players arrested, including 215 DUI’s, 99 drug charges, 96 domestic violence cases, 71 assaults and 2 murders ( It’s clear to me why they don’t like the police. If they really want to change the way the police act towards people though, they should hang up their cleats and put on a badge.
  Although it is completely their right to protest, what they are really doing is disrespecting the United States of America. The purpose of playing the national anthem is to honor our country, our freedoms, and everyone who has ever served in the military. I don’t look at this as protesting police brutality, I see it as protesting America.
By taking a knee, they are turning their backs on the men and women who have given their lives for us to live in a country as great as this one. If you have ever been to a sporting event you have probably seen a few people who keep their hats on their head while saluting the flag instead of putting their hand over their heart. These are the brave who signed a piece of paper and held up their right hand to defend this country, knowing that their lives may be on the line. So, when you see them saluting the flag they are not just saluting the flag, they are saluting their fallen comrades who were not fortunate enough to fly home alive. Instead they were boxed up and sent home draped in the red, white, and blue. Imagine being the family members to receive that flag, knowing the sacrifice that they have paid, just to see a bunch of athletes disrespect them by taking a knee.
It is also more than just the flag that makes it so disrespectful. I bet more than half of these athletes don’t even know the story behind “The Star-Spangled Banner”. It dates back all the way back to the war of 1812 between the British and the United States. Francis Scott Key was aboard one of the British ships, outside of Fort McHenry. He was there negotiating a deal to bring a prisoner back to America. He succeeded but was told by the British that going back to the fort would be useless. He was explaining how they intended to destroy the small base and use it to take the city of Baltimore. Outnumbering the Americans, the British begun their attack. As the battle raged on, Key noticed the gigantic American flag in the middle of the fort. After the battle had seized all he could see was the beautiful red, white, and blue flying high in the sky, telling him that the Americans had won. Next time you hear the anthem being played, listen to the words and hear the story through the song. Therefore, not only is there no reason to be taking a knee during the national anthem, it also disrespects this country, those in blue, and the brave men and women who risk their lives every day on the battlefield so you and I can live freely in this country.


Sahil Chugani

Our country stands for freedom, diversity, and equality. When someone thinks differently than you do, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re wrong. Sometimes, there is no right answer. However, notable people such as our President are becoming ignorant of the First Amendment and what that means for our country.
A few weeks ago, according to the NFL website, Donald Trump stated, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a (expletive) off the field right now. Out. He’s fired. He’s fired!’” in reference to players kneeling during the national anthem. Veterans are split on the discussion. While some argue that they fought for the right to kneel for the anthem and protest for what you believe in, others state that players are disrespecting them while kneeling for the anthem.
Why do some veterans and Trump see it as a sign of disrespect? From their point of view, they believe that standing for the anthem means that you give full respect to the people that fought for this country and what it stands for. If you don’t, that means you don’t respect them. However, NFL players who kneel believe something differently-they believe that when you stand for the anthem, you’re saying that you fully believe in what America stands for and how that’s being represented in the current state of time. Conversely, if you don’t stand, you’re saying that you don’t fully believe in what America is doing to be true to the anthem. In fact, Buffalo Bills linebacker Lorenzo Alexander stated this along with countless other players sharing a similar message, “Me taking a knee doesn’t change the fact that I support our military, I’m a patriot and I love my country. But I also recognize there are some social injustices in this country and today I wanted to take a knee in support of my brothers who have been doing it.”
Many owners and fans have also came out against Trump, as well as the commissioner Roger Goodell himself stating, “There is no better example than the amazing response from our clubs and players to the terrible natural disasters we’ve experienced over the last month.”
“Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities,” stated Goodell.

There is not right or wrong answer to this”

— Sahil Chugani (9)

While some veterans have a good point as to why you should stand for the anthem, they can’t argue that the players do not give respect to veterans. In interviews, players have clearly shown full respect to them and what they did for our country. There is no right or wrong answer to this. Some veterans believe that standing for the flag means a certain thing, while NFL players can often believe that it means something else. Nowhere in the United States does it say that standing for the flag means one specific thing; therefore, you should not be punished for viewing it in different ways. If you feel like you should stand for the simply to respect veterans, go for it. However, that does not mean that you can impose your views on others, saying that if they don’t stand for the flag they don’t respect veterans, because it’s clear that they do.

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Protests, Anthems, and Football