President Trump suggested to the owners of football teams in the NFL that they should fire all those players who take a knee rather than to stand for the national anthem.
He said this at an Alabama rally for Republican Senator Luther Strange.
“…[T]eam owners should fire players for taking a knee during the national anthem,” said the president.
He also added this bit of wisdom and knowledge about human nature,
“If fans leave the stadium when players kneel in protest during the national anthem, I guarantee things will stop,” he said.
The president added NFL owners should respond to the players by saying: “Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. He’s fired. He’s fired.”
The president called the taking of a knee before the games, many of them televised nationally, as “a disrespect of our heritage. That’s a total disrespect for everything we stand for.”
The question of whether or not there is any tangible meaning to gestures such as taking a knee while the anthem is played has generated a great deal of discussion all over the nation.
Those of us in our ’60s recall the days when we stood inside our public school classrooms and saluted the flag.
“Any deviation from that saluting of the flag would have led to our immediate dismissal from our class and school,” recalled the photographer Arnold Jarmak who lives in Chelsea, Massachusetts.
“Whether right or wrong, this is what would have happened,” he added.
Is the national anthem, the American flag, or any of the things related to our nation’s fight for freedom worth raising our hands to our hearts, or taking off our caps, or singing along with pride anymore?
Last year, when the NFL quarterback Colin Kapaernick drew national attention for refusing to stand during the singing of the Star Spangled Banner before the kick-off of the San Franciso 49’s game.
He is currently without a team.
In this split nation one side of the political spectrum will conclude protesting anthems is an exercise of free speech and therefore quite all right — legal, even just.
The other side detests such actions and doesn’t view it as freedom of speech, rather, as an insult to the nation and to everyone who has sacrificed their lives for the Kaepernicks of this world to be who they are – even with its inequities.
Who is right and who is wrong?
There is very likely no right and no wrong — just sentiments expressed by those who take pride in the flag and the anthem and those who have problems with America.
There are many of us who are on neither side but who understand the need for civility and a recognition that the flag and anthem are our symbols — the ay the hammer and cycle was the symbol of the Soviet Union when many of us were coming of age.
Did you want that flag waving over us or the hammer and cycle?
As the great psychiatrist Carl Jung wrote in his opus Man and his Symbols:
“It is the face of his own evil shadow that grins at Western man from the other side of the Iron curtain.”
That was then. This is now.
Kapaernick and many of his former player friends on the gridiron have chosen to take a knee.
“The fact is that each person has to do something different, something that is uniquely his own,” wrote Jung.
The president has raised an important issue about the taking of a knee during the playing of the national anthem by NFL ball players.
He should have pointed, quite rightly, that NBA basketball players can take a knee, but they will be fired.
Does this make professional basketball players better than professional football players?
It just means they need to stand for the national anthem if they wish to keep their jobs – which are to play great basketball rather than making political statements before the games.