Dear Mr. or Madam President:
I believe that anybody and everybody has the right to believe what they want. If their beliefs are practical and reasonable, then I also believe that they have the right to practice what they believe. Is kneeling during the national anthem the correct way to get your point across? Once you take action at a national level like Colin Kaepernick and many other professional athletes have, the protests are generating both anger and admiration. You have millions of people frustrated towards him for disrespecting our country the way he did, but people additionally witness an act of bravery to bring light to the matter of racial issues. Numerous athletes ranging from professional athletes to high school athletes have started kneeling during the National Anthem to spread awareness for the inequality towards the African Americans in the United States. Many people see this disrespectful towards the people in our military, yet others see this as a noble act to spread awareness for the unfairness towards blacks. Though I respect these athletes' right to protest, I believe the protests show disrespect for the members of our nation's military.
Steve Wyche, a NFL Media reporter, elaborates on NFL.com about Colin's reasons behind his kneeling during the national anthem. Kaepernick says, "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color." Does our great country truly "oppress black people and people of color"? Our country is noticed as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, in the world. We express everyday that we are the "land of the free and the home of the brave." The freedom you have to protest is given to you by the fighting men and women in our military and you are disrespecting it. He also says in the article, "To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder." Yes, lately there have been several cases of blacks that have been involved in cases of police brutality, but this behavior does not reflect our country's attitude as a whole. On CNN.com , Jacqueline Howard, CNN, reports,"While racial minorities were more likely to be stopped by police, the probability of being killed or injured during that stop may not vary by race. Once an actual stop or arrest occurs, that racial disparity disappears, and blacks face no greater risk of injury or death." This is coming from analyzed data on injuries resulting from police interactions from the 2012 Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, the U.S. Vital Statistics Mortality Census, the 2011 Police Public Contact Survey, FBI reports on stop-and-search procedures, traffic stop arrest reports in states that did not report their arrests to the FBI, and newspaper reports. I support standing up for what you believe, but when you take it to the highest level today, television and social media, and have this affect on this amount of people, it can be seen as a good or bad thing. You show courage and bravery but also show great disrespect to your country that gives you the freedom to get paid playing the sport you love.
I have several family members who have served in our nation's military. Both of my grandfathers served in World War II in battle and behind the lines as engineers. I loved them both while they were with us on Earth, but now I could not even imagine the uselessness they would feel after viewing somebody show such disrespect towards them and to the country they risked their lives for. To them and me, this is very disrespectful. We have men and women going out to risk their lives everyday to protect our freedom, even the freedom to play a sport on any level. Why disrespect our military by not supporting the National Anthem? This is just coming from an eighteen year old kid who's in high school. I know you can't do much because we all have rights, but if you read this at least spread the word that we all need to show respect towards our nation's military. Our future's goals depend on diversity.