By Ed Gaston
Colin Kaepernick kneeled during the national anthem in silent protest against the documented injustice against blacks in America. He was then exiled from the NFL. Since that time other players, seeing the injustice and the attacks on Kaepernick took a stand and began to kneel during the national anthem too. As more enlightenment came, including publicizing the racist lyrics of the National Anthem, more American citizens and athletes began to protest against ongoing injustice and the mistreatment of Colin Kaepernick for exercising his rights as an American. Many believe that the United States of America, which symbolizes freedom is now simply symbolizing ignorance and injustice. And with the comments made by President Trump during a rally in Alabama that athletes that protest should be fired, it was obvious that the freedoms of black people in America was being threatened by the highest office. In response to the exile of Colin Kaepernick, the African American community called for a ban of all NFL football games until he is allowed to compete for a position in the league. And strangely enough, President Trump is now assisting with the demise of the NFL.
THANK YOU TRUMP
After black leaders called for a boycott of the NFL for the obvious mistreatment of a courageous American standing up for human rights and against injustice, President Trump stated that NFL owners should fire football players that kneel and that NFL fans should refuse to watch the games. As a result of the boycott from the black community, NFL ratings have been on the decline. And it seems that President Trump’s encouraging statement that fans should not support the NFL, the black boycott has gain even more steam. However, according to an article by Shaun King of The Intercept, President Trump’s threatening statements to owners may be borderline illegal and UNAMERICAN. In the article, Chris Long of the Philadelphia Eagles, son of Howie Long, NFL Great, referenced U.S. Code, Title 18. Part 1, Chapter 11, Section 227, titled, “Wrongfully influencing a private entity’s employment decision by a Member of Congress or an officer or employee of the legislative or executive branch.”
- 227. Wrongfully influencing a private entity’s employment decisions by a Member of Congress or an officer or employee of the legislative or executive branch
(a) Whoever, being a covered government person, with the intent to influence, solely on the basis of partisan political affiliation, an employment decision or employment practice of any private entity-
(1) takes or withholds, or offers or threatens to take or withhold, an official act, or
(2) influences, or offers or threatens to influence, the official act of another, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than 15 years, or both, and may be disqualified from holding any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States.
(b) In this section, the term “covered government person” means-
(1) a Senator or Representative in, or a Delegate or Resident Commissioner to, the Congress;
(2) an employee of either House of Congress; or
(3) the President, Vice President, an employee of the United States Postal Service or the Postal Regulatory Commission, or any other executive branch employee (as such term is defined under section 2105 of title 5, United States Code).
President Trump’s rants and most recent conversations with Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones may suggest that he is using his office to influence private entities. This is definitely an excellent research paper for law students and if found viable a valid next legal step for American organizations and individuals with the intellectual and financial capital to stand up against the powers that be.
KNEELING IS COURAGE
Kneeling brings attention to the disease of racism and injustice. Kneeling does not allow ignorance to be swept under the carpet. Kneeling does not allow innocent Americans to be forgotten. Kneeling is a form of nonviolent protest that is protected in the United States of America. The act of kneeling in the face of injustice is one of the most admired demonstrations of courage ever seen. Therefore, kneeling in protest is as American as you can get.
Athletes, including NFL football players understand what it means to be Americans with freedoms, yet still facing oppression. Therefore, they are expressing themselves as true Americans by exercising their rights in this United States of America. Anyone that attempts to deny an American his or her protected freedoms needs to open up a history book and decide if they want to be on the right or wrong side of history.
KNEEL ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF HISTORY
The NFL is under a microscope, with the acknowledgment of a documented injustice playing out in stadiums across America. Americans are deciding daily, if they will kneel on the right side of history. From the Civil War and the abolishment of slavery to lynchings and seeing fists held high in the face of injustice and Nazis, courage was required. From Muhammad Ali going to jail to Martin Luther King Jr. greatest moments, courage was required. Where will America end up in history? How about we as Americans, embrace courage, take a knee and think about it.