I was watching the news this morning, and one of the commentators decided to inject what I would term “semantics” into the debate over whether or not the NFL players are protesting the anthem and flag.

His position was that the players are not protesting the anthem or flag, thus their protest should not be objectionable to anyone.

His argument is facile and completely misses the point that, regardless of whether or not they are protesting the anthem and flag, they ARE “disrespecting” them by refusing to stand for the anthem as required.

The players say they don’t understand why people are upset, that they are  protesting against racial injustice and police brutality, and that they are not protesting the anthem or flag.

The point, though, is that there is a difference between PROTESTING the anthem/flag, and DISRESPECTING the anthem/flag.

Let’s assume that we understand that their intention is to protest racial injustice, even though most of us might think this particular group of people has MANY other, better avenues to do so, given their positions and access to media, police, community leaders, etc., and let’s give them the benefit of the doubt that they do not mean to protest the anthem or flag.

However, that does not change the fact that their method of doing so DISRESPECTS the anthem, flag, and by extension, the principles and ideals upon which this nation was founded, and the nation itself. That may not be their intent, but it certainly is the reality.

The question is not whether they are protesting the anthem/flag, the question is whether or not it’s ok to disrespect the anthem/flag and what they represent.

Personally, I do not like the fact that they are disrespecting the anthem, flag, and by extension, the nation and principles and ideals on which it was founded. It bothers me. It feels kind of dirty and nasty to me.

You are free to disagree, but please don’t tell me that they are not disrespecting the anthem/flag. They are. 100%. When tradition, convention, and even the code of the flag require that you stand at attention, hand over heart, during the playing of the anthem, NOT doing so, deliberately, is about as clearly disrespectful as you can get without defecating on the flag or something of that nature.

The only question is whether or not you think that’s ok. I don’t.

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