Guest Editorial: To Take a Knee or Not to Take a Knee – Let’s Deal With Police Brutality

Editor’s Note:

In this country, people can protest in any manner they want, as long as it’s peaceful. Well, seems the acceptable manner to protest peaceably is up for debate as more and more professional athletes follow the lead of Colin Kaepernick, who last year as a NFL backup quarterback started kneeling while The Star Spangled Banner played at the start of football games.

He’s no longer playing in the NFL (and some people are protesting that against the NFL) but other players and professional athletes have taken a knee before their games “to bring attention to police brutality against African Americans,” as Kaepernick has consistently stated according to news reports.

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In the past five years or so, we’ve seen more beatings and shootings/death, many on video, of African Americans and other people of color, at the hands of bad cops for little or no justifiable reasons. Shamefully, in just about all of the cases, the law enforcement officers involved were not held accountable – they may have been arrested and indicted but they were not convicted of any serious crimes – false reports and all. 

Fast forward: More NFL and NBA players along with popular sportscasters have joined the discussion via social media. 

Then, the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, got involved. Just search online for what he said about the players and their mothers during one of his recent “rallies.” You heard me. The players and their mothers! And his subsequent tweets on this topic, calling for the players’ firing. Fewer and fewer people are shocked about what comes out of Trump’s mouth but his insults has caused an uproar. This could be another distraction from the mess (Investigation into Russia’s involvement with the 2016 Presidential Election) going on in Washington at the same time. 

Now people are sounding off on the topic. Here’s some of what Florida Representative Bruce Antone has shared on Facebook:

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“Does Liberty and Justice for all include: Tamir Rice, Eric Garner and Philando Castille?

It really is okay if you don’t understand Colin Kaepernick and his decision to kneel during the National Anthem. If you don’t understand the symbolic kneeling protests, it most likely means you have never shouldered the burden and mental effects of racism and discrimination, it means you have never experienced the sting of people being afraid of you just because you’re Black, and it means you have never encountered a situation where you were stopped by law enforcement and you feared for your life.

It’s okay if you don’t understand. However, it doesn’t negate the fact that police brutality is real. It doesn’t mean racism and discrimination doesn’t exist; it simply means your life experiences don’t allow you to understand the symbolic protests because you have not lived our life’s experiences nor have you walked in our shoes.

This ain’t about a guilt trip.

It’s about a reality that you may not want to understand and that’s okay. It is what it is.

Colin Kaepernick and other players are protesting UNARMED BLACK MEN BEING SHOT BY LAW ENFORCEMENT. The protest has nothing to do with the U.S. flag or the National Anthem.

Lot of folks are mad at the athletes, yet they have no idea why the players are protesting. I am not saying you can’t be mad at the players. WHAT I’M SAYING AND THE PLAYERS ARE SAYING IS WE DON’T WANT TO GO INTO PANIC MODE WHEN A POLICE CAR IS FOLLOWING MY DAUGHTER (i.e. their wives, sons and daughters) FOR 5-6 MILES AND YOU ARE WORRIED ABOUT HER SAFETY.

Folks, let’s express our thoughts on Steph Curry and Colin Kaepernick, but let’s not let this further divide us. We have come too far to claw each other to death over some very important, but intangible issues. Especially an American flag made in China.

At the end of the day, free market forces will rule, no NFL players will be fired, and the owners will devise a strategy to ensure they don’t lose money. Let’s see what happens.”

© Orlando Community News, 2017

 

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