9th Reading Forum

National anthem article response

Please post your response as a reply to this discussion. Your response is due by class time on Thursday, September 15.

Use the prompts below to help guide your response:

What in the article surprised you?

What in the article confirmed or contradicted what you already knew/believed?

How do you feel about athletes using the national anthem as a time to protest? Explain in full.

To receive credit, your response must contain BOTH of the following:

1) A direct quotation from the article to support one of your answers, and

2) A direct reference to someone else's response, either in agreement or disagreement.

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  • With the opening Sunday of the new NFL season falling on the 15th anniversary of 9/11, the issue of athletes protesting the national anthem received even more attention yesterday. Some athletes knelt, some raised fists afterward, some teams linked hands in a show of unity. Interestingly, some television producers chose not to show on camera the athletes who were making the symbolic gestures.

    I support the athletes' right to protest, just as I support the television producers' right not to show those protests on camera. I strongly believe that the flag we honor during the national anthem is a symbol of the freedoms of our country, freedoms that include the right to protest. The entire concept of freedom of speech is that it includes topics some consider controversial and offensive. That's the whole point—in America, citizens are allowed to say things, even in public forums, that others find disagreeable or even horrid. Sitting, kneeling, raising the fist—these are all symbolic forms of speech.

    While I support the athletes' right to protest, I disagree that protesting during the anthem is the best means to voice their concerns. I think they risk alienating fans who might otherwise support their claims about racial injustice in our country, and I worry that those claims about racial injustice will be drowned out in the controversy over patriotism and the "proper" way to act during the national anthem.

    What surprised me in the article is that Colin Kaepernicks's birth mother "tweeted that he was 'bringing shame'." I was not aware the Kaepernick was adopted. I was also surprised to learn that it was only since the 1940s that the anthem has been played before most major sporting events. The paragraphs about the history of athletes using the anthem to protest racial inequality confirmed what I already knew, and I think it is ironic that many who disagree with Kaepernick's gesture hailed Muhammed Ali when he died recently, forgetting how strongly Ali protested the treatment of African Americans.
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