I would like to start this article by first letting you know that I don't intend to have this site become a source of politics, but this pressing issue has drawn a bunch of attention.
In the past year we have seen a bunch of controversy surrounding athletes and their intentions to stand up for what they believe in. It has come in many different forms, some of which have many fans upset. Let's talk about the big topic in sports right now and break down the pros and cons to what has been taking place.
Okay, first of all we have to look at this movement from multiple different angles. Let's start with the good that we have seen so far:
1. Kneeling, sitting, or staying in the locker room is a harmless act. When you get down to the very base of this choice you will realize that no one is being hurt or harassed. There have been many worse ways of trying to make others understand your disagreement.
2. Freedom of speech is alive and well. You can clearly see that the president is not a fan of the protests that are taking place, yet they are still able to use their platform to communicate what they believe in. Press conferences are being as free as ever and social media is running wild, if this wasn't the case it would have to be regulated and we may be forced to only ever seen one side of each argument.
3. Unifying a team is great for chemistry. I know that this isn't something that is talked about at length, but when you do something as a team (no matter what it is) it tends to bring you closer to the guys around you. Now, it does depend on whether they are willing to cooperate or not. It doesn't work the same way when a few players or coaches are simply forced into doing what the rest of the team is doing.
Now here is negative effect it has had...
1. A possible sign of disrespect for veterans and active military. I know that this act is aimed at inequality and other injustices in the United States, but you have to understand that people who have fought for this country's freedom could see this as offensive. A few teams have addressed this issue and showed respect for both sides by linking arms while standing for the anthem (I personally favor this the most).
2. Young athletes love to imitate their favorite athletes. Now, this topic could go either way, but let's take it as though they don't know what is going on. When you are young, you are taught to stand and respect the flag. Hats off and right hand over your heart. If kids are seeing their favorite athlete essentially doing whatever they want during the national anthem, they will have a hard time respecting the flag later on, whether their parents tell them it's important or not.
3. Division among fans and players. Many fans have already showed their disdain for players who don't stand for the anthem, but as more and more players show their hand on this matter it makes it hard to separate sports from politics. For most people, sports are a way to get away from the "real world" and enjoy their favorite form of entertainment. Not being able to separate the two may become a big reason to stop watching it.
There are different views on this subject and it would be hard to sway either side from what they believe is right or wrong, but I don't think it is right to decide, as a coach or owner, to make your team protest as a whole. Players are capable of making their own decisions.
There have been other forms of protest that are a much better representation of what an individual stands for in sports. The custom cleat and sneaker industry has become a huge success and when athletes express themselves through art it can turn heads. We've seen pink to represent breast cancer awareness, black and white patterns built into shoes for Black History Month, and camouflage for military support. The NBA tends to send messages through their pregame shirts and the MLB uses their bat color, knobs, and acronyms etched into their hats to further push their voices. Everyone has their own agenda on how they will use their voice, but I especially like using apparel to rep your cause.
What do you think? Please comment below and we'll be sure to discuss it on the show!