By Shannon Sanchez @ShannonSanchez3
So the mystery of what the Seahawks were going to do during the National Anthem is now revealed. They linked arms and stood at attention. With the reaction that had erupted since a tweet a few days ago, it almost seemed anti-climactic. Except it wasn’t, it was respectful and honoring.
I admit that when I first heard of the tweet, my stomach dropped. I am a person that wants peace at all costs and I have a feeling that players like Doug Baldwin would never be able to relate to me. I wondered why anything was said ahead of time, what was the motivation. I also felt an unusual burden on my shoulders, well not so unusual.
I love sports for many reasons. Nostalgia and community top the reasons but the main one is that I am able to lay aside my worries, responsibilities and for a few hours indulge in the dramatic entertainment that is the NFL. Yet, over the years societal issues have been creeping in more and more. And with it, the immediate knee-jerk reactions of anyone with a social media outlet. The combination of which leaves many of us fans with a feeling of fragmentation and chaos. We also feel guilty when we turn on sports talk radio and all we want to hear about is the game.
The national spotlight centered on Colin Kaepernick a few weeks ago. What he was protesting seemed secondary to the fact that he sat during the anthem. I am not sure if that was his intent or if it was to point attention to the issue. There was considerable backlash as well as unflinching support. What has happened is that there is now so much attention on the players during the National Anthem. “Are they sitting? Kneeling? Standing? And what does it mean?” After the Seahawks show of unity, the announcers made a special note to say who on the Dolphin side was kneeling. By the end of the first quarter the Dolphins organization had already issued a formal statement.
As a fan, as a mom, as an American who can remember what it was like to live in the United States on Sept 10th 2001, I need to ask: Have we lost sight of the deeper issues that make this nation great? Have we lost sight of why Colin Kaepernick was protesting? Have we lost sight of why the Seahawks felt compelled to display this show of unity?
For those who are in support of the protests, is it shedding enough light on the issues? If not, what can be done? Are you satisfied that the attention is off the initial issue and has now become a roll call on who is sitting?
For those in protest of the protest, is it because of disrespect of the Anthem? I have been at too many games where those in the stands are talking or texting throughout the song and they’re not protesting anything, they are just too self-indulged to stop and honor our nation. So, what is worse? Do you make sure that you appropriately honor our flag every time the anthem is played?
I have decided not to jump to immediate conclusions. My questions are not rhetorical but sincerely expressed. My concern isn’t so much about who or what is being displayed during the anthem but about what results from it. To borrow more sentiment for Doug Baldwin, he stated the unity immediately after the events of 9/11 was at its highest point but now only 15 years later, our nation seems more fragmented than ever. If this is a catalyst to bring this nation back together then I’ll be supporting it. And then maybe, just maybe, we can go back to enjoying the game for the sake of the game.
Featured image courtesy: 12thmanrising
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