Noor in a Nutshell: NFL protest: Revealing racial undertones

Noor Naji, Opinion Editor

A few weeks ago, many NFL players across the nation began to take a knee during the National Anthem as a form of protest. This, naturally, sparked controversy.

Instead of focusing on important issues such as the disaster in Puerto Rico, the senate healthcare bill or North Korea, President Trump decided to call out team owners to fire players who are “disrespecting the flag” and being unpatriotic.

It seems that most of the nation, along with the President, is missing the point. Players used their platform to kneel down and protest issues they feel have been overlooked; they didn’t disrespect America, the troops or the freedoms we stand for.

As James Baldwin said, “I love America more than any country in this world and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.”

And by Trump aiming to silence them, it is in fact, he who is being unpatriotic. What does it say about our nation when the president is reluctant to condemn those waving confederate and Nazi flags because of their right to speak freely, but does not think twice when criticizing those who aim to peacefully protest?

And, yes, there is the argument that kneeling before the flag disrespects our troops and the freedoms they fought for. But the irony is that those same commentators were silent when the Nazi flag waved across Charlottesville last month. The troops, quite literally, fought the Nazi flag. So, isn’t the waving of a Nazi flag more offensive to the American flag than kneeling before it?

Kneeling is just a form of protest, however, opponents insist that it is the wrong way of protesting. Then what is the right way for an African-American man to protest? If they’re out on the streets, it’s a riot. If they kneel, Trump refers to them by a profanity.

By kneeling silently, they are neither being disruptive or disrespectful. By kneeling, they are saying so much without saying anything at all.

When opponents claim that the players are at fault, while simultaneously fighting for the right of alt-right conservatives to carry confederate and Nazi flags, it becomes clear that the issue isn’t about disrespecting the flag, the troops or the nation at all; it’s racial.

Instead of focusing on  the kneeling itself, which the players have every right to do, we should notice why they are doing it in the first place, and what injustices they are trying to direct our attention toward.