US Veterans Weigh in on NFL Players Taking a Knee

In the US Army, taking a knee has a special connotation. 

 

Before Sunday’s lineup of NFL games, over 100 players from several different teams took Colin Kaepernick’s lead from last year, and in silent protest took knees, locked arms, or stayed off the field entirely, before Sunday’s games. President Donald Trump responded with two tweets which together said, “If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL, or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem. If not, YOU'RE FIRED. Find something else to do!”


The president has followed with a steady stream of tweets about the subject since then, including:

Roger Goodell of NFL just put out a statement trying to justify the total disrespect certain players show to our country.Tell them to stand!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2017

Some conservatives believe that since NFL players enjoy fortune and celebrity, they aren’t in fact victims of prejudice. And that taking a knee or locking arms during the national anthem is a disrespect to the nation’s veterans who put their lives on the line, or to those who lost them, in defense of freedom and liberty.

On the other hand, liberals believe that it’s one’s right to protest according to the 1st amendment, that the actions were peaceful, and that African-Americans have legitimate concerns when it comes to police violence and systemic racism. Liberal-minded spectators saw this as an overall protest of racial injustice, while certain conservatives saw it as a direct protest against the president.

The Twitterverse exploded in debate soon after and the fury picked up on Monday, with many conservatives rallying around the hashtag #StandForOurAnthem and liberals circling around #TakeaKnee. In many conservative channels, Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle and former Army Ranger Alejandro Villanueva, became a hero. He was the lone Steeler who stood for the anthem in Sunday’s game.


Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva stands for the national anthem. Getty Images.

The country’s divide was once again made glaringly apparent as this new front in the culture wars flared up. Since then, a number of celebrities, pundits, and media personalities have weighed in. Fox News commentator Bryan Dean Wright wrote that such protests inflame racial divides, rather than merely calling attention to inequity. He said he’d rather players, “lead a constructive conversation on race.”

To the contrary, a piece in Foreign Policy magazine by veteran military journalist Thomas E. Ricks outlines the US Army tradition of “taking a knee” as something to admire, and be emulated. It’s taking a breather—a chance to step back for a moment, gather one’s thoughts and reconsider the situation. “I kind of like the idea of the nation taking a knee and considering our racial situation, and how we can all do better,” he wrote. “You know we can.”


U.S. Army Soldiers with 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, take a knee to talk and reassess in Afghanistan, June 12, 2013. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Robert Porter.

Of course, the beautiful thing about the digital era is we can easily see what veterans themselves think. Legions took to the character-restricted social media site to voice their opinion.

Some felt certain parties used them to serve their own side:

I'm one of countless military veterans taking a knee. Do not exploit our service to silence black Americans and endorse racism.#TakeaKnee

— Charles Clymer

Others merely showed solidarity:

Im a veteran and i served so we all have rights and are free i will be taking a knee from here on out we must stand together. #TakeAKnee

— Amanda Alonzo ☺️ (@army_brat_fit) September 24, 2017

Russia sends humanoid robot to space, fails to dock with ISS

The Russian-built FEDOR was launched on a mission to help ISS astronauts.

Photos by TASS\TASS via Getty Images
Technology & Innovation
  • Russia launched a spacecraft carrying FEDOR, a humanoid robot.
  • Its mission is to help astronauts aboard the International Space Station.
  • Such androids can eventually help with dangerous missions likes spacewalks.
Keep reading Show less

Human extinction! Don't panic; think about it like a philosopher.

Most people think human extinction would be bad. These people aren't philosophers.

Shutterstock
Politics & Current Affairs
  • A new opinion piece in The New York Times argues that humanity is so horrible to other forms of life that our extinction wouldn't be all that bad, morally speaking.
  • The author, Dr. Todd May, is a philosopher who is known for advising the writers of The Good Place.
  • The idea of human extinction is a big one, with lots of disagreement on its moral value.
Keep reading Show less

this incredibly rich machinery – with Antonio Damasio

Picking up where we left off a year ago, a conversation about the homeostatic imperative as it plays out in everything from bacteria to pharmaceutical companies—and how the marvelous apparatus of the human mind also gets us into all kinds of trouble.

Think Again Podcasts
  • "Prior to nervous systems: no mind, no consciousness, no intention in the full sense of the term. After nervous systems, gradually we ascend to this possibility of having to this possibility of having minds, having consciousness, and having reasoning that allows us to arrive at some of these very interesting decisions."
  • "We are fragile culturally and socially…but life is fragile to begin with. All that it takes is a little bit of bad luck in the management of those supports, and you're cooked…you can actually be cooked—with global warming!"



Keep reading Show less