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Protests of the National Anthem: History and Arguments

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Politics
Wordcount: 1323 words Published: 18th Mar 2021

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In recent years a new topic of discussion has appeared and hasn’t seen any resolution just yet. This topic is the National Anthem protests. The protests are seen as another way of showing off that the state in which the country is in is unacceptable and needs to change. They also cause a scene and get lots of criticism. Even with this the protests are a great way of getting attention towards your cause, harmless, and are easy to partake in. Yet the protests fall short due to the disrespect seen, the supporting of causes with very little research, and ease of manipulation for the wrong causes.

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Historical Perspective

To begin, the problem of the national anthem protests started when people noticed a rise in police brutality against the African American community. The protests first started as a subsection of the Black Lives Matter movement. The Black Lives Matter movement started when a rise in police brutality cases against people of the African American decent became common place and important information. The movement mainly focused how the lives of black citizens in this country have not mattered and have been discounted and devalued (The Truth 2015). The movement slowly spread across the nation and caused a large amount of protests. Many of them made famous because of their use to promote online videos and entertainment.  The movement, being a national phenomenon, soon made its way to big corporations and companies such as the National Football League (NFL). Specifically, one player, Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick took the message that the movement was trying to get across and made it into a large-scale event by sitting down during the national anthem at a pre-season game in 2016. He did it because he felt that this, the injustice for African Americans, is something that has to change (How National 2018). He soon made what was a sit-in into a kneel to show more respect to the men and women who fight for the country (How National 2018). The new way of protesting became an overnight sensation and sparked a few more players to join in suite. The protests were still seen as disrespectful to many and this put the NFL in a difficult situation. Many criticized the player and the league for its tolerance of the protests. Many of these people were well known figures such as the President himself Donald J. Trump. The league ended up letting go of Kaepernick due to all this backlash and criticism. This only gave the movement more drive and energy. With many of the nations most talented and famous athletes and personalities behind the protests many at home and schools started to do the same. The ease of access and the powerful message it sent made it an effective way of signaling that the oppression of minorities, specifically African Americans, was not okay and something that must change. Students began to feel inspired to join in and put a spotlight on the racial injustice in America (I Am 2017). Many of them believing that it is a strong enough protest to cause a change in the nation. The movement in recent years has died down but is still prevalent. The protests did affect many companies and how they responded to the accusations of the injustice of minorities. Now it is used to signal a problem in other areas that are in need of a change. What began as a movement about how police brutality against African Americans needs to change slowly evolved into a movement about getting attention to a cause that includes the oppression of a minority group in America.

Arguments (Pro).

To continue, the protests are a great way of getting attention towards your cause. They stir-up lots of controversy and allow you to get media attention fast. The inclusion of Colin Kaepernick in the protests brought the movement to the mainstream. Over night the protests went from only being prevalent to local news outlets to making headlines of major news corporations. This allowed him to get interviewed over and over again to explain himself and justify his stance on the anthem and flag. During his relentless cycle of interviewing he stated that he sat during the National Anthem to bring attention to the injustice to African Americans (How National 2018). This made many question how they felt about the movement and the anthem. Many started to partake in the protest themselves and this brought the movement everywhere. Schools, sporting events, general gatherings, none of them were safe from the movement. Many say they were inspired by Kaepernick and his stance (I Am 2017).

The protests on the most part are harmless physically. They offer a way to stand up for a cause while doing it peacefully. Like most successful protests they have a great and valuable message to be heard and felt without any need for violent acts. Because of its harmless nature many have taken part in it. As previously mentioned many famous athletes and personalities have joined in the protests constantly being inspired by others and the causes to return to it or join. Should this form of protesting be connected with anything violent or need violence to be present many of these people would have not participated. Without the absence of violence, the protest may not have even garnered as much attention as it has. To add, if violence would have been involved in the way of protesting the attendance dropping 3.6 percent at NFL games wouldn’t have been the only thing affecting the NFL (The Impact 2020).

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In addition to these points, the protests offer an easy way to get involved into any cause it may be representing. Protesting the National Anthem is easy and only requires a cause, inspiration, and strong will. There is no need to venture out looking for a protest and dates on when to march, there is only a need to hear the song and be brave enough to kneel. The entry point for protesting is easy to access and can be accessed by anyone. Many students have joined in protesting because of its lack for many steps and strong message. All it takes is inspiration and a cause to join in and students have shown this ( I am 2017).


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  • I Am A Cheerleader, And Here's Why I Take A Knee. (2017). In All Things Considered. Retrieved from Gale In Context: Opposing Viewpoints database.
  • Scaliger, C. (2017, November 6). Should the Government Make Disrespecting the Flag or the National Anthem Illegal? The New American, 33(21), 27. Retrieved from Gale In Context: Opposing Viewpoints database.
  • The Truth of 'Black Lives Matter'. (2015, September 4). The New York Times, p. A22(L). Retrieved from Gale In Context: Opposing Viewpoints database.
  •          How National Anthem protests took Colin Kaepernick from star QB to unemployment to a bold Nike ad. (2018, September 4). CNN Wire. Retrieved from Gale In Context: Opposing Viewpoints database.
  • Watanabe, N. M., & Cunningham, G. B. (2020). The impact of race relations on NFL attendance: An econometric analysis. PLoS ONE, 15(1), e0226938. Retrieved from Gale In Context: Opposing Viewpoints database.


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