Justin Jackson wonders whether anthem protests will be necessary

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Colin Kaepernick began protesting during the anthem to bring awareness to the issue of police brutality against black and brown Americans. His message got lost in the method, but his message has become clearer than ever in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd.

Given the awakening that the Floyd murder has sparked, Chargers running back Justin Jackson raised an intriguing question when talking to reporters on Wednesday: Will anthem protests during the coming football season still be necessary to bring attention to a problem of which everyone is now aware?

“It’s like a perfect storm,” Jackson said, via Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com. “I think people are finally starting to see, he was right [in] … what he was talking about then. . . . He should feel very vindicated. . . . I’m glad that now it’s changed, the narrative has changed and the majority of people are seeing exactly what he was talking about, and what a lot of people have been talking about, screaming about, for a long time.”

Given that there will still be plenty of people who link kneeling with “disrespect” (even though the protests aren’t and never were about disrespecting anyone or anything), Jackson seems to think kneeling during the anthem should be reconsidered.

“Now that that light has shined and that’s kind of really exposed . . . the way I’m thinking of it, the best methodology moving forward is to do everything we can with our platform to effect that positive change,” Jackson said. “I don’t know if [kneeling] will have the most net positive outcome because of the way it gets so, such a hyperpartisan issue, really because they don’t want to talk about the real issue. Nevertheless, I think if we just use our platforms like we are now to continue to expose and advocate for the change we want to see in society, that might be the best method going forward. But we’ll see.”

The NFL’s regular season begins three months from tonight. Three months ago from tomorrow night, the coronavirus turned the world upside. Which means that many things can and will change in that same period of time. Could it be that there will be enough change in the next three months that kneeling simply isn’t needed?

That’s probably a little too optimistic, given the amount of change that needs to be made. Maybe the biggest change that will come in the next three months is that only a small percentage of people will continue to conflate kneeling with “disrespect,” ultimately making anthem protests something that won’t be divisive, despite the best efforts of people who hold Bibles upside down as political props to make it so.

7 responses to “Justin Jackson wonders whether anthem protests will be necessary

  1. Then they can kneel to bring awareness to those who refuse to understand it since many of those type are also the ones still refusing to admit there’s equality and justice issues anyway.

  2. I wonder what exactly needs to take place to not kneel. How will society know that the goal has been met? Or will someone always kneel as a reminder of injustice, like people stand for the anthem as a reminder of independence from Britain. Can it be both…standing as a reminder of what the USA has done and kneeling as a remider of what we are working towards?

  3. What about some other sign of solidarity, like a raised helmet at “…oh say does that star spangled banner yet wave…”

    That’s less divisive than kneeling, and it’s something everyone can respectfully take part in. Heck, even fans could do it by raising an arm/fist.

  4. People want to be heard and I have no problem with that, and if they want to disrespect the American Flag in order to get their message across that’s their prerogative, but these same people have to be willing to accept the fact that some people will disagree with that decision. That is where the problem lies they want to kneel, but they don’t want to hear from the people who think it’s wrong. They just want to do it, and make a spectacle, and be free to say whatever they want without being criticized, and it doesn’t work that way folks.

  5. Huh stand for the national anthem? What a novel concept. I think he might be onto something.

  6. Gotta give him credit for seeing what’s ahead, can’t jump the shark or you’ll turn everyone off.

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