Now that kneeling in protest during the national anthem at NFL games is apparently going to be a source of controversy again this coming season, Sports Illustrated columnist Jimmy Traina has suggested that a way to avoid the issue is to not play "The Star-Spangled Banner" before sporting events.
“Outside of ‘tradition,’ why is the national anthem played at sporting events?” Traina wrote, asking, for example, why it is not played at theater performances before the show begins or at restaurants before you get your meal or before White House briefings.
Traina said there is no point anymore to tell people who don’t like the protest that it has nothing to do with disrespecting the flag because NFL players have already explained countless times that they take “a knee during the national anthem to peacefully protest police brutality and the social justice system” and not to dishonor veterans or the Stars and Stripes.
Following the death of George Floyd while in police custody and the massive demonstrations nationwide that followed, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said a few days ago that he now supports peaceful protest.
But, Traina said, many others do not accept this point of view, and “the kneeling by NFL players has, is and will be used as a political weapon by a certain person seeking reelection, which only muddies the water even more."
Traina also pointed out that the playing of the national anthem is not even considered important enough anyway by all four networks that broadcast the NFL — CBS, NBC, FOX and ESPN — which are at commercials and don’t even air it as it is played.
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