Smith on Sports: They have a right not to stand, but it makes me sad

Danny P. Smith
Staff Writer

They have a right to do what they want to do.

It doesn’t mean I have to like it.

A little over a year ago, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began a trend of protests where National Football League players sat or knelt down for the national anthem before games.
It seemed like everyone was doing it on Sunday.

The players chose to do this to make a point and it does bring attention to their cause, but there just seems there are other ways to protest rather than to shun the flag and the country in that way. It makes me sad when they don’t stand.

I will always rise and honor our country with my hand over my heart when the national anthem is played and the flag is displayed. It doesn’t matter what situation comes and what I agree with or disagree with on the political front. All I can think about are the men and women who serve our country and fight for our freedom. What do they think when they see this type of demonstration?

It’s important to me to pledge allegiance to the flag and that’s what I’ve always been taught, but again, that’s just a personal opinion.

I liked New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees take on the situation.

"I will always feel that if you are an American the national anthem is an opportunity for us all to stand up together, to be unified and show respect for our country and to show respect for what it stands for," Brees said on Sunday.

People are different and we don’t all feel the same way. I understand that.

In a response on Twitter on this subject, someone said there is no where in the United States Constitution that says we have to stand for the national anthem. That is true, but some things don’t have to be in writing to be understood. Imagine what would have happened in the 1800s if someone had not stood and recognized the flag. They probably would have been hung or something.

President Donald Trump certainly isn’t happy about how athletes have gone about expressing their feelings lately. His comments over the weekend in Alabama really stirred up a hornet’s nest.

Owners and even Commissioner Roger Goodell came out with their statements on Saturday voicing their disappointment in Trump and criticized his stance. There was a league-wide show of support and unity for each other Sunday.

I know. It’s a different word we are living in and we have a President who speaks his mind and that often gets him in trouble.

Whether we agree or disagree on how the President handles his business, this is still America and NFL players get the opportunity to make huge salaries for playing the game they love in this country.

It just seems like they should consider what they have and why they have it before they think about taking a knee the next time the national anthem is played or sung.

Danny P. Smith is the sports editor and columnist for The Starkville Daily News. The opinions in this column are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SDN or its staff.