If you were watching football this weekend, you may have noticed many people kneeling during the national anthem. Kneeling in protest during the anthem is nothing completely new — Colin Kaepernick began kneeling in protest against police brutality and racial injustice last August. However, many people started kneeling this weekend in response to Trump's comments saying that those who kneel during the anthem are "disrespecting the flag."
One veteran decided to teach us all what "disrespecting the flag" actually means. It might surprise you to know that kneeling has nothing to do with it...
Back in 2016, former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick elected to sit rather than stand when the national anthem was played before a preseason game in order to protest police brutality.
During a post-game interview, he said, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
Kaepernick continued his silent protest for the rest of the season, typically opting to take a knee rather than stand for the national anthem. His actions were, and continue to be, highly polarizing. Some people believe that Kaepernick’s actions are disrespectful, while others see it as an acceptable form of protest.
Moving into the 2017, more and more people — athletes and non-athletes alike — have begun to show both their support for Kaepernick and their own anger over police brutality and racial injustice.
On Friday, Trump shared his own views on those who kneel during the national anthem.
Trump was giving a speech in Virginia when he went off-script and said, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a b***h off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!’”
He went on to say, “You know, some owner is going to do that. He’s going to say, ‘That guy that disrespects our flag, he’s fired.’ And that owner — they don’t know it, they’re friends of mine — they’ll be most popular person for a week.”
Trump's comments encouraged even more people to protest.
Over the weekend, players and fans throughout the league started kneeling during the pregame national anthem. Some players even refused to come onto the field for the anthem, electing instead to remain in the locker room. The #TakeAKnee movement began picking up speed.
Trump continued to share his disapproval of those who chose to protest.
Once again, he implied that kneeling during the national anthem — a form of peaceful protest — is “disrespecting the flag.”
One Twitter user decided to call out this harmful and inaccurate rhetoric.
As Twitter user @koopa_kinte (who is also a third-generation veteran) saw people speak about kneeling during the anthem as “disrespecting the flag,” he decided to clarify what that actually means. He turned to the U.S. Flag Code for reference.
Here are the things that are actually disrespectful to the flag…