ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt had some passionate words for the national anthem protest critics.
Prior to a Monday Night Football clash between the Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals, the Cowboys were joined by owner Jerry Jones, head coach Jason Garrett and the rest of the coaching staff on the field. The entire team and staff interlocked arms and took a knee.
The kneeling, however, came before the national anthem.
Dallas wanted to show unity and their support to others who are protesting, without giving off the impression that they were disrespecting the military or flag. After all, that’s the criticism players receive.
But despite taking a knee before the anthem, the Cowboys heard boos rained down from the crowd.
That’s what Scott Van Pelt has some questions about.
If the issue with the protests was that it was disrespectful to kneel during the anthem, why are people still upset if the display took place before the Star Spangled Banner was performed? Van Pelt wants to know.
— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) September 26, 2017
“Does anybody listen to what the man just said? Will anyone listen to what he said about what they did as a team, how they talked for days to figure out how they could show their support and not be disrespectful to the flag? That’s what they did. But if this is something that upsets you, you’re just going to be mad. And no conversation can take place if that’s all there is. It just can’t happen, if you just want to be mad. This was before the anthem and what they did was booed. So if the anthem wasn’t being played and the flag wasn’t being displayed and you’re angry at that, what are you angry about? I’m out on this one. I’m out of gas. I don’t know what else there is.”
Van Pelt has a point.
No one is going to agree over the method of protest. While a majority of people seem to understand the protests are being performed to raise awareness of systemic racism and social inequality, others are making it about the flag and ignoring the issue.
In today’s political climate, that’s only going to continue to divide.
You know what would settle all of this? The league should go back to how pre-game ceremonies were prior to 2009, with teams remaining in the locker room while the anthem was performed. Unfortunately, that all changed when paid patriotism became a thing, and it may be too late for owners and the league to turn back.
So if the easiest way to solve the problem isn’t likely, is there any way to move past all of this? It doesn’t seem like the answer will be “yes” anytime soon.
And honestly, that’s okay. Because the players who are protesting have a point and we should all be willing to listen.