Yet another NFL player has commented on the issue of their football players kneeling when the national anthem is played at games.
In an interview with Fox News, NFL Hall of Famer Cris Carter expressed his disagreement with the way NFL players like Colin Kaepernick have chosen to voice their opinions. “I’m not going to disrespect the flag,” he said.
He continued, “But I would take that opportunity to try to be able to do it in some form or fashion, and I do believe in supporting my teammates.”
Last year, former 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, started to take a knee as the national anthem was played before each football game, apparently in order to protest police brutality against black men. He received both praise and criticism for his statement. Soon after, other players followed his lead, with some players taking a knee, and some sitting.
According to a poll published by J.D. Power, the protests were one of the main reasons why so many fans decided to stop watching the games — 26% of respondents reported that this was the case. Last year, the NFL’s ratings decreased, and many believe that the protests are a significant contributor to the decline.
The issue at hand is not the fact that Kaepernick is protesting the unjust treatment of black Americans by the police. Indeed, many Americans agree that steps should be taken to prevent unarmed shootings of black men.
Studies have shown that black men are more likely to become victims of unarmed shootings. Activist groups like Black Lives Matter (BLM) have worked to shine a spotlight on this disparity — unfortunately, they do this by implying that the majority of police officers are racists who want to kill black people. In their demonstrations, they have demonized law enforcement across the board — which has turned away many Americans who would be willing to hear what BLM has to say. Obviously, law enforcement is a positive thing and most of our officers are some of the most wonderful people in the nation. It’s a shame so many have missed the mark in this regard.
People like Colin Kaepernick would do well to take a lesson from the mistakes that BLM has made. It’s not about the fact that he is protesting an injustice — it is the way he chooses to express his views.
Expressing his views on police brutality by disrespecting our nation’s flag is not only the wrong approach, it is also ineffective. The idea that you can convince a group of people to buy into your idea while insulting their country is obviously flawed.
The reason that people are not listening to Kaepernick isn’t necessarily because they disagree with him. It’s also not because America is a racist country. It’s because he’s expressing his view in a repulsive manner. In the end, he will have done nothing to further his cause.
Cris Carter isn’t the only former NFL player that believes Kaepernick’s methods are misguided. Football legend and civil rights activist Jim Brown made statements similar to Carter’s. He said,
“I don’t desecrate my flag and my national anthem. I’m not gonna do anything against the flag and national anthem. I’m going to work within those situations. But this is my country, and I’ll work out the problems, but I’ll do it in an intelligent manner.”
NFL players who wish to speak out against injustice would do well to heed Brown’s advice, rather than Kaepernick’s.