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  • Alex Hand

The NFL Versus Middle America

A few of the many beauties found in America is its freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom to assemble. These actions have been implemented by numerous members of the National Football League in an attempt to extinguish the crisis of American police brutality.

The problem that the antagonists of this peaceful protest find is that it comes across as a direct act of hatred toward the United States Armed Forces, and they believe these athletes should find more constructive ways to solve “their” problem. Unfortunately, the feelings and words made by those against the demonstrators are exactly the problem.

The National Anthem during a sporting event in America is the one time somebody can make their thoughts felt by an audience in the millions. In roughly 90 seconds, gut reactions take over and the negative opinions on the movement are reciprocated by boos or media outbursts; all failing to ask the question as to why someone who has life by the balls would take it upon themselves to receive such instant hate.

Simply put, people are dying.

This isn’t a walk for cancer and it certainly isn’t the fight against autism, this is a systematic problem in America that people with new money and voices want to talk about. These athletes, generally speaking, were born into families living beneath the poverty line, had fathers arrested and jailed over frivolous charges, saw first hand the differences between the police’s treatment of whites versus non-whites, and had finally grown tired of watching the only world they ever knew do nothing about it.

The headline of ‘Cop Shoots Unarmed Black Teen’ has become a staple in America and the body counts have been in the hundreds on a yearly basis. Black children using cell phone cameras and Twitter accounts have created an unabridged news station for what really goes on between the police and people. This movement is not to condone police if they should ever have to use their weapon, nor is it an attack on white people, middle America, the military, or even the wealthy, but a simple, hardline plea for justice.

Blood has been spilt, families have been destroyed, and the same event continues to unfold day in and day out. It is almost unfathomable to believe there could be a more peaceful event in bringing attention to this never-ending social justice issue.

If these millionaire athletes truly did not love their country, they would have left by know. What is there to keep a man who has all the money he will ever need inside a country he does not love? The idea that these men are anti-patriotic is simply not true and many like Colin Kaepernick, Malcolm Jenkins (PHL), and Anquan Boldin (DET) have spent what little free time they possess in rebuilding community-police relations through legal documentation as well as giving money to grieving families that lost the breadwinner in their house due to police brutality.

The fact is certain members of America’s police force continue to treat people differently based off the color of their skin, and there is still evidence that hate groups including the Ku Klux Klan have members working as police officers in this country. And the biggest folly in the ability of these Americans to make genuine, positive change in the country they love is the people who stand in the way, a majority of which are either blissfully unaware of the problems that do not effect them or would rather see this problem tackled differently.

“I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

To all of those who share similar feelings of question and uneasiness, perhaps hatred, this includes the President of the United States, when you claim that this is an act of treason or disrespect for the country that you love, you are failing to realize that these athletes are silently reciting their pledge of allegiance to the country they want to love with you.

“And to the republic, for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

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