Sitting During The Anthem, Bad For Players, But Not Fans?

In a time where Charlottesville, North Carolina is the trending topic of the week due to what seems to be the prelude to an entirely new-age Civil War, the less-significant issue regarding sitting during the Star Spangled Banner has rehashed itself.

“I look in the stands at some of our games, both home and away, and I see people that are drunk with their hats still on, yelling.”

Seattle Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin spoke out on the topic after being asked about his teammate Michael Bennett’s decision to sit during the anthem.

His point was solid and one that no one else has mentioned. One that no one can deny either.

“Whether you agree with it or not, that’s irrelevant. Individuals have a right to freedom of speech. I mean… We want to talk about somebody taking a stand for something that’s important. Taking a stand, taking a seat, for something they deem important.”

“Inequality in our country, injustice in our country – we’re sitting here having a conversation about whether or not it’s important that a guy stands for the national anthem or sits when the topic is inequality or injustice, but yet I look in the stands at some of our games, both home and away, and I see people that are drunk with their hats still on, yelling. How come you guys aren’t talking to them? How come there’s not a discussion about them? This guy is taking a reasonable and peaceful approach to something that – I mean, I don’t know who doesn’t think is (vitally) important to our society and the health and wellness of our communities, but yet we’re not talking about people who are in the stands, drunk during the national anthem with their hats still on, yelling at players, cussing during the national anthem, we’re not talking about that.”

“I know you guys are reporters and you’ve got to make a story about something but I just think we’re taking it too far.”

If you’ve been to a sporting event, you know, whether you admit it or not, that this is true. As a matter of fact, you could be one of the people he’s talking about.

“This is a decision, I know that knowing Mike, he has taken a lot of time and pride in making.”

What’s the difference? Actually, the fans openly defying the national anthem may be worse than what Bennett decided to do. He’s outlined the reasons for his actions and although some may not agree with his method, his reasons are legitimate.

As for the fans, they have no legitimate reason. Getting up to get a beer, peanuts, or any other concession during the national anthem should be a problem too and should be addressed if “disrespecting” the national anthem is your actual beef.

In defense of Bennett, as an African-American or anyone that stands for equality, it’s understandable that one may not want to stand up and salute a country that’s never respected them. Use what’s going on across the country right now as an example. Read up on real American history and show when and where African-Americans were treated as equally as a regular white-American.

Baldwin also mentioned he’s considering joining Bennett by sitting during the “Star-Spangled Banner.”

“We are going to have a conversation here shortly and again, we try to do things as a team and as a family,” Baldwin said. “We will see how we can support Mike in this situation … We operate as a family. We support our guys in whatever they want to do, whatever endeavors they set out to accomplish or achieve. And Mike has always been one of those leaders in our locker room. We trust him. Again, he is a highly, highly intelligent individual who didn’t just make a decision off the cuff. This is a decision, I know that knowing Mike, he has taken a lot of time and pride in making. So as a family within this organization we fully support what he has done.”

About the author

Founder & Editor-in-Chief. National Association of Black Journalists. University of Central Oklahoma.

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