Patriotism in Sports
By Bob Branco
I’d like to think that I am a true American patriot. As early as Kindergarten, I learned some of the most popular patriotic songs. In a way, these songs were forced on us, but it didn’t matter. Though I didn’t know what some of the words meant, I had a feeling that these songs were significant. At six years old, I had no idea what “Spangled” was, or “Twilight’s Last Gleaming”. I thought that the phrase, “Above the Fruited Plane” meant something about an airplane with fruit all over it. Obviously, I learned the true meaning later on.
Recently, many football players protested the playing of our National Anthem prior to their games. Though I am not sure whether these players did it because they have lost faith in our country or because President Trump made a strong statement after a coach encouraged 8-year-old football players to protest, I still have a problem with it.
On one hand, these professional football players should be grateful that they can make millions of dollars in America, something they might not be able to do this freely in other countries. On the other hand, some might argue that America offers us freedom of speech, which means that these protesters have the right to use such freedoms because they are Americans.
No matter what motivated these players, I wish politics could be separated from sports. I am proud to be an American, but I am also a realist. Though I respect the true meaning of America along with its patriotic songs, I know that we don’t live in a perfect country, and I know that I am allowed to offer constructive criticism when necessary. However, that’s where I draw the line. I still stand up for the National Anthem when I am at a sporting event, and even put my hand over my heart. Despite all that’s going on right now in America, I know that there are a lot of people around the world who are suffering more than we are. We need to count our blessings, knowing that there is no perfect country or other portion of our environment.