Debunking some myths about national anthem protests – Orange County Register

The tradition of playing “The Star Spangled Banner” before American sporting events dates back more than a century, but never has the practice and its symbolism incited such a political firestorm as this past week when the President took aim at the NFL and fanned the flames of a debate over players protesting during the anthem

Now, the anthem is at the center of our national conversation — the President himself has tweeted two dozen times about it since — and as is customary in our current national state of truth-bending and carnival barking, misconceptions about the anthem, the NFL and its protesting players are widespread. So, in this week’s column, let’s get a few things straight about NFL protests and the anthem debate:

No one is protesting the flag. Somewhere along the line, this fundamental misread of Colin Kaepernick’s original protest became the beating heart of any anti-player, anti-NFL sentiment in the anthem debate. Players are merely protesting during the anthem, but it is only a vessel to make their point known. Disagreeing with that method is fair game, but no player kneeling or raising his fist or sitting during the anthem is protesting the flag. Or the military. Or any tenet of American democracy. Wrapping this conversation in the flag, so as to appear patriotic, only ignores the larger, more important questions being raised here. Patriotism, after all, comes in many forms.

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