Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Is Someone Peacefully Exercising Their Right to Kneel Worth Getting Exercised About?

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Is Someone Peacefully Exercising Their Right to Kneel Worth Getting Exercised About?

Article excerpt

Byline: Ron Littlepage

People see things very differently.

I get that.

There is an outpouring of outrage from many over what the Jacksonville Jaguars and team owner Shad Khan did during the playing of the national anthem before Sunday's National Football League game in London.

What they saw was an act of disrespect for the U.S. flag and an affront to the members of the military who fought to preserve freedom in this country.

Ironically, part of their patriotic frenzy was egged on by a commander-in-chief who dodged the draft during the Vietnam War.

What I saw was Khan locked arm-in-arm with members of his team, standing straight, as a sign of unity with those players who chose to kneel to protest what they believe are injustices in how African-Americans are treated.

The right to peacefully protest, which is what these players were quietly doing, is one of those freedoms soldiers have fought to preserve.

But exercise it, and you should have a profanity hurled at you by the president of the United States and a demand from him that you be fired.

Really?

All of this frenzy is a sad reminder of just how far we have not come in race relations.

A recent story published by PolitiFact recalled what Jackie Robinson - almost universally admired for breaking baseball's color barrier in 1947 - wrote in his 1972 autobiography "I Never Had it Made."

"As I write this 20 years later, I cannot stand and sing the anthem," Robinson wrote. "I cannot salute the flag; I know I am a black man in a white world."

The African-Americans in the NFL protesting today are echoing that same feeling almost a half century later.

And that's something whites cannot fully comprehend because they have not lived as a black in a white world.

Those who believe that race isn't still a problem in this country aren't dealing in reality. …

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