When I sat down to write this article, I really didn’t know what to write. I am not American. Nor have I ever lived there. So I can not put into words the divide that exists and the true meaning of the protests that are occurring. I must state now that I am against the NFL’s proposals to protest. So for me, I will attempt to draw on the emotions that would exist if it occurred in my own country. In truth, I felt I had no right in writing this article. I still feel it is a topic that our website should address and so I attempted to offload it onto another writer. But in doing so, he mentioned an angle I had never really thought about. What exactly is the end goal of the kneeling protest?
In essence, I have no problem with the method of protest. Had that occurred in Ireland, I would not be angry. Kneeling during the anthem symbolizes a fallen person to me and was respectful of the occasion. What would be an issue would be if the individual protested by not acknowledging the anthem or the flag. This was never done. No one continued to warm up or move during the anthem but rather stopped and acknowledged. I can understand people’s anger as this may be portrayed as disrespectful but I don’t think it was meant in that way. The system has broken down in the eyes of the protesters and they can no longer stand for the society they currently live in. But what is the end plan for the protests? When can they say, “right, we have achieved our goal”? What exactly is that goal? These protests are getting more publicity than ever with the new rules and I would be fairly confident we will be seeing fines handed out in September but for what cause? A cause that if doesn’t not clearly define it’s goal, its end point soon, may lose all the momentum and support it has achieved so far.
I can see why the NFL felt they had to address the protests for a number of reasons. At the end of the day, the NFL is a business. It needs money to operate. These protests cost them money. They jeopardized their state fund, they effected their viewing audience and they caused divided opinions across the league. To counteract it, they agreed with player representatives to provide funds towards social causes. And yet they still encountered protests. No one could tell what more could be done to solve the protests as the only goal was to demonstrate the clear cultural divides within America. Therefore, it was easier to sweep the problem out of sight. These actions I don’t condone.
Going back to the initial thoughts I had from discussing this my colleague (who really should be writing this piece not me). Without a clear and achievable goal, will this protest for a matter that does truly need to be looked at be simple swept aside? Or can we all band together and begin to build a route to a better society that all will feel equally treated in.