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Taking a Knee on America

“Would you please rise in honor of America for the playing of our National Anthem?” Then you look and find the American Flag, either being presented by the color guard or flying above the stadium. You stand at attention, removing your hat if you are wearing one; maybe you place the hat or your empty right hand over your heart. You then enjoy this moment of solace as Francis Scott Key’s tribute to the defense of Fort McHenry; our Star-Spangled Banner is played.

Incidentally, the song that became our National Anthem was originally penned as a poem entitled Defense of Fort McHenry.

How can something so simple as standing for the National Anthem turn into a national discussion? In today’s world of anything goes in the name of political correctness and catering to the views of the patriotic bankrupt it should be no surprise. Now I’m going to exercise my First Amendment right, even though the people who stand with Mr. Colin Kaepernick would do anything to suppress my viewpoint or cast it in a vile light.

In case you missed it, Colin Kaepernick kneeled during the National Anthem of the San Francisco 49ers home opener. He had done this during the preseason and created controversy over his self-proclaimed protest of police brutality and show of support, “For his people of color who are oppressed in the United States.”

I’m not even going to go there this week as far as this poppycock. I guess Mr. Kaepernick feels he can get more done then Mr. Obama and the Black Lives Matter movement. I’m appalled by Mr. Kaepernick and those who have allowed him to turn the presentation of our colors and the playing of our National Anthem into a time for political statement.

This is a most sacred time to love, honor and show respect for our Nation. In the NFL arena it is a moment prior to the athletic competition pitting teams that are about to knock the heck out of each other when everyone at the venue stands united to show their respect for our Great Nation.

We stand in honor of our military and all those soldiers who have spilled blood, left part of themselves on some foreign land or gave their future so we can enjoy the freedom of a ball game. We stand as Americans because we understand how blessed we are and it is our patriotic duty to show thanks.

This short time also provides time for prayer; you can often see the players that are not singing the National Anthem, but praying. Same goes for coaches, fans and yes, parents.

I always pray during the National Anthem. Thank you God – please keep the players safe, in Jesus’ name, Amen. If my boys and their friends are playing I may add, let them have fun and enjoy the day; please let them play to their potential.

There’s nothing required of a person during the National Anthem. How you use the moment is up to you. You can sing every word or you can just stand there and be indifferent if you want. It doesn’t have to mean a darn thing to you, but you’ve got to stand up!

For ESPN reporters, the 49ers ownership and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to do nothing and even praise Mr. Kaepernick’s actions is completely moronic. To not have the integrity to speak up over this disgraceful action and to even try to justify it is ridiculously insulting to me as an American.

The National Anthem is a time of unity not division. It is in no way, shape or form intended to be a time for political statement. It is a time-honored tradition. It is a celebration of freedom. Do not tell me Mr. Kaepernick has this right, he does not. He is an employee of the San Francisco 49ers and the National Football League. He is required to follow the protocol of his team. Commissioner Goodell just fined players this week for wearing cleats that were not league approved. Tom Brady is out five games for leaving a little air out of the ball. The NFL has the strongest rules of any corporation in America.

Can you imagine if every player wanted to use some time during game day to make a political statement? Maybe during the National Anthem each player can just hold a sign stating their political view of the day. At least that way they can stand up! Can you just hear that same liberal media when a player holds up a Confederate Flag in remembrance of the soldiers of the South lost in the Civil War?

If the players around Kaepernick would’ve simply turned their backs on him during the National Anthem this would’ve ended. The 49ers cannot have this division in their locker room and the NFL and head man, Roger Goodell, cannot have it viewed on TV.

When individuals in leadership positions like Mr. Goodell, John Edwards, owner of the 49ers, and head coach Chip Kelly allow actions like that of Mr. Kaepernick to occur it is an insult to everyone who follows the rules and does things with professionalism.

When you allow political correctness to overrule common sense and what is right, you become a coward. Thank God the people who provide us the opportunity to stand during the National Anthem are not made of this same metal.

From a coaching standpoint – who needs some poor decision making, below average fundamentally, backup quarterback disrupting the locker room. The right business decision was to send him packing. Let him focus on civil rights advocacy.

If you don’t want to stand during the National Anthem you will never be on my team – my team is the United States of America.

God Bless America.

Jim Webb

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