One Veteran’s Perspective on the NFL National Anthem Protests


Randle De Graaf, Contributing Writer

Note: The opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author and should not be interpreted as the views for all veterans.

For many, football is classified alongside things such as apple pie, baseball and bald eagles as being uniquely “American.”

Recently, football has been making headlines, not for its tremendous showing of patriotism, but rather for players protesting our nation’s national anthem.

The very foundation of our great republic was formed by protests. They are engrained in our blood as Americans, along with freedom of speech.

Protesting an anthem which defines freedom, liberty and the pursuit of happiness by a group of overpaid, ignorant crybabies, however, is an assault on America and an assault on everything that makes being an American so wonderful.

While free speech is protected under our first amendment, there are certain time-honored traditions which define who we are, remind us of where we came from and therefore should remain unfeigned.

As a veteran of our nation, we are granted a unique perspective on what it’s like to be an American. We have bled and sweat on lands defiled by their inhabitants. We have seen horrible things committed by regimes against their people.

Our experiences give us a unique insight and appreciation for being American because we know and have seen the evil in the world. The overwhelming majority of these football players do not understand how good we have it in America.

The protests emerged in response to claims of police brutality and it’s respectable that these players used their fame as a platform to speak out against what they see as unjust. Yet doing so during a moment that’s meant to honor our great country and the thousands of men who have given their lives in its defense is wrong.

Could they have done it during halftime? After the game? What about off of the field?

What many fail to realize is that these protests began in response to our current president, not police brutality. Many turn on their TV’s to watch football, not to watch a political protest.

Regardless of how you personally feel about the issue, it’s impossible to deny that many are extremely protective of our nation’s flag, anthem and the veterans who have fought and lost friends fighting under that flag.

As long as our flag flies and our national anthem remains holy, freedom will ring across this beautiful nation of ours. At the end of the day, we are first and foremost Americans.

If you feel the need to protest, it is your first amendment right. Just don’t forget about the thousands who have died for your right to do so.