I'm boycotting the NFL. Want to join?
by Gabriel M. on September 14, 2017 - 1:41pm
I am boycotting the NFL. Want to join?
In 1776, the United-States of America’s second Continental Congress unanimously approved a decision to secede from the United-Kingdom. Eight years later, the American victory against the then superpower that was England prompted a sense of national pride in the United-States, still hailed to this day by its citizens. This patriotism is seen in their deep and strong respect for their history, their tradition and their national symbols, including the national anthem. In recent months we have seen a growing movement amongst NFL players of all backgrounds, teams and now colours protesting against police brutality and violence against minorities within the United-States, with the most prominent voice, or knee rather, coming from quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has started much controversy on the topic of patriotism and the anthem.
We have seen time and time again in America people disobeying the law to achieve their goals or to mobilize the general population to a topic that they felt needed to be discussed. Whether it was the civil disobedience of civil rights activists of all colors in the sixties or the actions even of Abraham Lincoln, who was willing to go to war to abolish the idiocy that was slavery. This civil disobedience is the root of the pacifist movements for equality of all races, extended obviously to all genders, sexual orientations, religions, and origins.
Colin Kaepernick’s protest it the same only with one major difference, which plays in his favor. This sort of civil disobedience is not disobedient of any laws at all, for it is legally protected by the United-States constitution. After watching videos of the explanations of the quarterback and his fellow teammates as well as the catastrophic reporting of Fox News on the issue, I have decided and encourage others to protest and boycott the NFL.
I relate to this story for I too am an athlete and have, in Canada, asked myself if the national anthem, an anthem that represents a nation that has mistreated for decades - scrap that - centuries the native Canadians which have been here for thousands of years is really worth standing for. I have decided to stand, for my nation is relatively respectful towards immigrants and minorities. 20% of our population is foreign born and rarely will you hear of a massacre or a protest in which we see people run over by a car for hating hate. In the United-States though, it is consistently different.
Every time a bold idea is introduced, such as the legalization of gay marriage in all fifty states, or the right to vote for women, or even the right or people to vote at all after we realize the voter suppression that is going on in America, there is massive outrage in the media. We bring up the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, laws but we never bring up the most important of all factors when wanting change, and that is the intent.
There are many who will say that this is disrespecting the national anthem. Others will claim that this movement that is taking shape behind Kaepernick seeks only to promote himself. I say that this exactly what makes America the nation it is today. A nation whose diversity has allowed for debates over the civil rights and whose discussions have led to unimaginable progress. A country which has seen an incommensurable amount of hatred towards certain groups be transformed into love for these people.
To come back to the basis of this story, the United-States of America fought a war of independence which resulted in today’s three founding documents: The Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. The First Amendment of the Constitution proudly proclaims the following.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
The Declaration of Independence praises the following sentences.
“We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, That they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new Government, laying its Foundations on such Principles and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to Them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
If we truly are to defend freedom of speech and the right of every man and woman in the United-States, we might as well allow for it’s people to protest against the outrageous treatment that government, police and discrimination reserves for racial minorities. For these reasons, I am protesting the NFL and encourage you to join me.