Regardless of Personal Beliefs, National Anthem Protests Can Become A Tool For Unity

September 25th, 2017 | by Matthew Monte
Regardless of Personal Beliefs, National Anthem Protests Can Become A Tool For Unity

National Anthem

Regardless of your personal politics, you have to admit that when the president of the United States speaks, people need to take notice. That is why, for the second time in as many weeks, we’re discussing protests in sports, and specifically, kneeling during the National Anthem.

As I outlined in the previous article, my general stance has been that sports administration, coaches, and support personnel should look at their role here as educators. But this specific issue now calls for a more specific answer.

Although the NFL didn’t get everything perfect, there were a few examples of how things should be done. The Steelers, in fact, are a great example. That isn’t to say your entire team should sit out the entire National Anthem, but how they came to that decision was the most constructive I’ve seen yet.

While many players across the league decided on their own how they would carry themselves on Sunday, the Steelers had a full team meeting to discuss the issue. By all accounts, the meeting was civil, with players expressing opinions on both sides. It was agreed upon up front that whatever the decision, the entire team would abide. (With former Army Ranger Alejandro Villanueva serving as a notable exception.)

In the end, the vote was split, but the team kept their word and all (but Villanueva) stayed in the tunnel.

Good for them, right? I mean, a bunch of guys weren’t really on board with it, but they participated in the name of solidarity. That’s supposed to make this whole situation better, isn’t it?

If that was all the Steelers decided in that team meeting then this whole situation would ring hollow, but luckily it wasn’t.

[Cameron Heyward] personally insisted his teammates do more than whatever act of solidarity it chose to perform during the performance.

“Whether it’s racial inequality or inspiring others to grow up and be leaders in our community, and there’s multiple ways you can give back. And all over this world we’ve been affected,” Heyward said. “In Virginia, in hurricanes, there are multiple people that need our help.”

And there is the true unifying force in this whole mess.

Our individual experiences make it difficult for diverse groups of people like NCAA athletes to reach unanimous decisions, but everyone can agree that there are things in this country that need attention. By respecting each other enough to listen to opposing views, people can find common ground even if they don’t fully agree on how to get there. The only thing both parties need to agree on is to take action.

About Matthew Monte
Matthew Monte is Managing Editor of College AD and formerly Co-Managing Editor of Underdog Dynasty. He is a graduate of The B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration at UL Lafayette, mostly because it didn't require a foreign language. Matt is also a recovering stand up comedian who occasionally relapses.

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