Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Kneeling, or ‘Taking a knee’

When President Trump attacked the millionaire football players of the National Football League (NFL), uproar arose after his call for players who do not respect the National Anthem to be fired. The media immediately jumped on the racism bandwagon and ignored the real story.

Kneeling was once commonly related to the action of getting on one’s bent knees to pray. But today the players of the NFL have decided to have a different definition by ‘taking a knee’ to protest during the rendition of the National Anthem before the games. The demonstration was started by Colin Kaepernick a Quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers who began protesting by not standing while the National Anthem was played before the games. He was protesting against the oppression of people of color in the United States. As his action gained national attention, players from other teams started to emulate him. Colin Kaepernick does not like the police, without proof he accuses them of being murderers and slave catchers. He also depicted cops as pigs on his socks.

There is no doubt that in the United States the ugly truth about racism still underlines many issues. Over the years there have been several police actions against the black population that have been proven to be of a racist nature. But we also ignore many statistical facts concerning the death of African American man at the hand of the police  and by other African Americans.
According to Attorney Peter Kirsanow of the U.S Commission on Civil Rights, the Department of Justice statistics show that blacks are 2.5 times more frequently killed by the police than whites. But what is ignored for example is that in New York blacks are 2.5 times more likely to commit crimes, 3.5 times more likely to commit robbery,38 times more likely to commit murders, and 51 times more likely to be involved in shooting resulting in homicide. As a result of a false narrative being used by politicians, the media and even President Obama, after the incident in Ferguson, the police, in many jurisdictions, like Baltimore, are less engaged in active policing.  As a consequence in 2015 there were 900 and 2016 another 900 more blacks killed by blacks. In fact black policemen are 3.3 times more likely to shoot blacks. New York used to have 314 shootings and 93 of them fatal. In 2015 it was 23 shootings and 3 fatal.

So here we are today, with professional athletes ‘taking a knee’ instead of standing during the national anthem. In my view, the President should not have used the words ‘sons of birches’ to describe these protesters, but he was right to demand that the team owners fire the protesters for demonstrating their disrespect for the flag and the anthem. The irony is that these players are employees and in any other venue employees displaying that kind of behaviour would be summarily fired. In contrast, Washington state high school football coach Joe Kennedy, was fired for kneeling in prayer; A few years ago NFL quarterback Tim Tebow ‘took a knee” in prayer on a football field and was criticized by a lurid part of society. Players who wanted to wear a patch on their uniform to remember the victims of 9/11 were forbidden to do so.

The real issue is that the owners do not have the guts to stop the demonstration against the National Anthem and the flag. They are thinking about fan support, tickets sales and revenues, which by the way are dwindling.

This protest may be warranted but it is also based on a false narrative perpetuated by the leftist media. Everybody has a right to protest, however it is the place and time that really matters in this case. To disrespect the soldiers and first responders is abhorrent. To do it in a foreign country is even worse. These protesters could have chosen to ‘take a knee’ before the game and not during the National Anthem, or better still like Ray Lewis the former Ravens NFL player take both knees and pray.

Trumps’ opponents’ should look at the real issue and context of his comments. I ponder in light of the tragedy in Las Vegas, if the victims and public would have preferred to have NFL players instead of first responders, including policemen, and military personnel to protect and help them?

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