Protests not about soldiers or flag



Much of the NFL decided to show a sign of unity recently ago in the wake of comments by President Trump.

This does not exclude the hometown team, the Detroit Lions.

During the national anthem two weekends ago, players, coaches, team officials and even the owner linked arms.

Some kneeled.

The man performing the national anthem even kneeled at the end of his performance.

During this display, boos rained down from the seats of Ford Field.

This is where the issue hit home.

In America, you are given the right to free speech and peaceful protest, among a multitude of other rights.

For some reason, the fans of Detroit believed that those players did not have that right.

We hear it all the time: “You are paid to play, not protest.”

This is where I think there is a disconnect.

The football players of the Detroit Lions are in a unique position, much like many athletes across the country.

They are frequently in front of the cameras. This is a perfect place to protest, to shed light on a topic to an audience of millions of people who might not otherwise hear the message.

“It is disrespectful to the flag.”

Quite the opposite, if you really think about it.

What is more patriotic than trying to bring progress to your country?

These athletes are using the platform afforded them to try and effect change.

The athletes who play for the Lions are predominantly black. Their experiences are often much different from those of white fans.

Yes, the players could choose to protest in a different way and at a different time, but it would not get nearly as much coverage as it does on NFL Sunday when millions are watching.

Because of the efforts of the Detroit Lions and many other teams around the NFL, important topics are being talked about not only on hard-hitting national news programs but also on sports shows.

It would be wrong not to acknowledge the man responsible for these protests: Colin Kaepernick.

The Lions are only the latest to jump in and protest like Kaepernick.

It is important to talk about the issues that Kaepernick raised with his original protest: police brutality of minorities, racial inequities, etc.

His protest was never about the troops or the flag, and it is a disservice to say otherwise.

Beyond the NFL, there are rumblings now about NBA players launching similar protests.

Where will it go next?

Whether you agree or disagree with the means of protest, Detroit athletes are involved in a noble fight for social and racial justice in America.