Stand and honor the anthem or take a knee?

#TakeAKnee began when Colin Kaepernick sat for the anthem during the NFL preseason in August 2016. It’s grown. More players have joined in, even in other sports, perhaps partly as a response to Trump’s insistence that they stand.

Let’s look at both sides of this highly divisive issue.

Stand and honor the anthem.

players that kneel are unpatriotic

Despite explanations that protests are about police brutality and racial injustice, the protests are seen as questioning the military and the men and women who serve it. This is causing ratings to fall in an already declining market.

A Reuters poll indicated that 72% of Americans viewed Colin Kaepernick’s protest actions as “unpatriotic.”

and have an unclear message

Colin Kaepernick might be part of the problem. Here are recent quotes:

“The message is that we have a lot of issues in this country that we need to deal with,’’ said Kaepernick. “We have a lot of people that are oppressed. We have a lot of people that aren’t treated equal, aren’t given equal opportunities.”

Kaepernick has been more articulate at other times but the above quote illustrates one central problem: where’s the clear, actionable message? How does kneeling change police brutality?

and crime statistics may not support the message

Kaepernick continues, “…we have cops that are murdering people, we have cops in the (San Francisco Police Department) that are blatantly racist and those issues need to be addressed.’’

Let’s look at those crime statistics:

The Washington Post analyzed data over several years and found that there’s a really consistent number of fatal police shootings each year: close to 1,000 people of all races, which includes armed and unarmed victims.

In the first six months of this year, the Post found a total of 27 fatal shootings of unarmed people. Seven were black.

There are 22 million black men in America.

Seven is not a huge number—it’s not okay AT ALL, and needs to be scrutinized and discussed and changed—but there may be a lot more black men who are victims of excessive police force than unarmed murder by the police.

Again, it ALL needs to be talked about but maybe a focus on the wider spread issues would help with message clarity and resonance.

BTW, Wordstirs is working on that article.

and, whats the problem anyway?

Pew Research confirms not everyone agrees that there’s an issue that needs action:

84% of black Americans say blacks in this country are treated less fairly than whites by the police.

But only 50% of whites say blacks in this country are treated less fairly than whites by police.

what’s the end game?

What needs to happen for the protest to stop?

Terrific study and article by Harvard that analyzes components of successful protests. The first priority the Harvard team articulates? To define the specific change you’re going for. For example, civil rights protesters wanted specific legislation passed.

Read more here: How Protests Become Successful Social Movements (Harvard Bus. Review)


the protests are peaceful

The protests are nonviolent and allowed by their employer.

In many cases, the protesters come from places of great inequality, and they are using quiet means to try to affect a change. Even if the approach has some holes, the protesters have started a discussion they believe in deeply.

using democratic principles that are fundamental to freedom

The right to protest is critical to a functioning democracy and at the core of the First Amendment.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

and giving power to individuals

Shouldn’t people have the right to try to change injustice?

Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat at the end of a long day; sit-ins and freedom rides during the civil rights movement; dictators falling with Arab spring protests–individual actions that shake things up have grown us as a world.

protests make people uncomfortable–get over it.

1961 Gallup Poll:

When asked if black demonstrations helped or hurt the advancement of black rights, 85% of white Americans said they were hurting the effort.

Read more here: Black Lives Matter and America’s long history of resisting civil rights protestors (Washington Post)

NFL ratings are down but anthem-kneeling may not be the reason

The decrease in NFL viewership is probably a combination of factors—that includes the protests—but also includes the “cutting the cord” trend especially among younger viewers who are opting out of cable packages.

A crazy final thought:

Nate Boyer, former Green Beret and retired NFL player, gave Kaepernick and President Trump some advice: sit down and talk.


Back to the News Made Simple article here.

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