The Right

I just got done teaching a little unit on the Star-Spangled Banner with all my students. We read a storybook about the creation of the song and go over the actual meaning of the lyrics. My students know a sign language routine to go along with the lyrics. Seriously guys, there is nothing cuter than first graders miming sign and singing about the “Donzerly Light” like Ramona Quimby. We also model what to do when it is performed at sporting events. I teach the kids that 1. We stand quietly, hands over hearts. 2. If there is no singer, we sing along if we want. They are ten years old or younger; that’s all they need to know.

HOWEVER… I have not found other things quite so cute lately:


Sorry. No. Rant warning!

They’re  exercising their right to protest in a (very!) peaceful way. They’re doing nothing to hurt you or anyone else. You don’t have to agree with it. They don’t have to agree with you. I guess it sucks if they’re messing with your image of a perfect Sunday afternoon game. These players taking a knee to draw attention to an issue they care about is hardly disrespectful to a country that was populated partially by Europeans searching for religious freedom and that early on established the ideal of free speech. It’s kind of our game, here.


We watched my kid’s soccer team take a knee last weekend when a player on the other team was hurt. 20 kids instantly knew to drop to the ground in respect until the boy was up and walking. Kneeling before royalty is traditional.  Kneeling in prayer is a common practice. Kneeling is a heck of a lot more respectful than some other methods of protest.

If you say these guys have “insulted the people who gave them the right”, you are saying that they don’t or shouldn’t have the right in the first place. You really want to go there? Stripping away constitutional rights?

Honestly, the guys on the left look a lot more reverent and thoughtful to me anyway.

It was not military servicemen (we have to assume that they’re talking about “our troops” here, naturally) who gave these players this right, by the way. The fledgling American congress – guess who knows all about this stuff now that she’s a bit obsessed with “Hamilton”?  – passed the first amendment to the constitution in 1791 as part of a collection of legislature called the Bill of Rights.  They gave these guys the right.

Oh wait. These guys are black.

So no, they didn’t. Sorry.