NFL players have taken the national anthem protests to new heights following Trump’s criticism over the weekend, which is still causing major controversy.
There is one person who’s reminding us all why we stand for the national anthem, according to Independent Journal Review. First Lady Melania Trump stood for disabled veterans participating in the Invictus Games.
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) September 24, 2017
During a rally in Alabama, Donald Trump criticized NFL players who refuse to participate in the national anthem, stating, “We’re proud of our country. We respect our flag. Wouldn’t you love to see one of our NFL owners when someone disrespects our flag to say, ‘Get that son of a b**** off the field right now… he’s fired!’ When you see it [protests], leave the stadium. I guarantee you it will end.”
Many players responded by boycotting the national anthem. The Pittsburgh Steelers hid in the locker room while the anthem was playing — save for one lone player — Alejandro Villanueva. The Seattle Seahawks similarly protested.
According to a statement released by the Seahawks, “As a team, we have decided we will not participate in the national anthem. We will not stand for the injustice that has plagued people of color in this country. Out of love for our country and in honor of the sacrifices made on our behalf, we unite to oppose those that would deny our most basic freedoms. We remain committed in continuing to work towards equality and justice for all.”
With all the protests, boycotting, and controversy, there is obvious confusion as to why we stand for the national anthem in the first place. Fortunately, First Lady Melania Trump gave us a reminder when she attended the Invictus Games in Canada that same weekend.
According to the organization’s website, “The Invictus Games are an international sporting event for wounded, ill and injured servicemen and women, both currently serving and veterans. The Games use the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding of and respect for those who serve their country.”
Melania Trump stood when the American flag was brought out by disabled veterans.
According to US News, she personally met some of the brave Americans who participated in the Invictus Games, and thanked them for their service, calling them “our heroes.”
Melania also gave a wonderful statement to the athletes, saying, “On behalf of my husband and our entire country, I want to thank you and your families for all you have sacrificed to keep us safe. I also want to wish you good luck, though I know you won’t need it in these games. Take that fighting spirit that I know you have and bring home the gold.”
Melania reminded us that the national anthem is not a platform to voice our political frustrations, but a means of thanking those brave men and women who make sacrifices for all of us. Standing for the flag acknowledges those sacrifices, and those who choose to sit or hide during the anthem are merely disregarding what the military has done for us.
These NFL players are boycotting the national anthem to get attention, and to raise awareness for their issues. This selfish act shows disrespect for the men and women who gave them the opportunities and freedoms they have in this country.
No doubt, Trump was right and many NFL fans will be fed up by the league’s disrespect. Maybe these players will realize that it’s hard to raise awareness for something when your own fans won’t come to the stadiums anymore because you insist on disrespecting the soil those stadiums are built on.