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Newquist: Kneeling Honors Victims of Institutional Racism, Calls Us to American Ideals

NFL owners will meet next week to discuss forcing players to stand during the National Anthem. No word on whether they will also eject fans who fail to stand, take off their caps, put down their beers, and sing along with sufficient gusto measured by parabolic Gestapo microphones.

Our own David Newquist provides a stirring explanation of why prohibiting players from kneeling during the game-opening tune disrespects both those men’s principles and America’s (which—liberty and justice for all—are really the same):

The NFL men who kneel during the national anthem are paying reverence to victims who have had their lives taken in acts of inequality and denials of justice that are the actual rejections of the flag and everything it is supposed to stand for.  They are not showing disrespect to the flag, but are showing sorrow that the country and its flag have betrayed its people.  During 2016, the police killed 258 black men.  Thirty-nine of them were unarmed.  They were shot down as if they were rats in the town dump.  Those who kneel during the national anthem are, in fact, honoring the quest for freedom, equality, and justice that the flag symbolizes.

Those who say that the kneeling is an affront to the principles that America professes and those who fought for those principles are the ones who besmirch the national honor.  The NFL football players who kneel have stated clearly and precisely that they kneel to call attention to the racist acts of violence that have besmirched the flag.  When Trump and his minions say that the kneelers are dishonoring the nation and those who have served, they are indulging in one of the many malicious lies they engage in to aggravate the racist divide that they have revived and widened during Trump’s reign of malice.  Trump and his hate squads are fanning the lust for blood and death in the people who love and live for moments of atrocity.  Watching football players deliver concussions is not enough.  Trumpists defame the kneelers in the hopes that they will be fired and left to roam the streets where anxious and avid gins await them [David Newquist, “Emmett Till and Philandro Castile Died for Your Sins,” Northern Valley Beacon, 2017.10.10].

Our local paper should run Newquist’s column in response to the rank racism it published yesterday from Patrick McHugh.

Speaking of racism, the same President who has vulgarly insulted NFL players honoring their dead brothers is also criticizing storm-ravaged Americans in Puerto Rico and threatening to end federal recovery assistance. Strangely, that same President has not issued similar insults and threats to storm victims in somewhat whiter Texas and Florida.


  1. Jenny 2017-10-13

    We’ve been bred in America that the Flag is as important to us as God, when in reality freedom (which the pubs like to preach) is all about your right to kneel. As much as people are in huge disagreement with Kaepernick’s choice to kneel, this is what America is supposed to be about. Really.
    I support Kaepernick and all other players that refuse to stand. White Americans don’t want to do the research on police brutality towards minorities. It’s not about disliking the flag, it’s about the players trying to give a voice to their brothers and sisters that deserve a voice.

  2. mike from iowa 2017-10-13

    Drumpf’s threat to yank NFL tax exemption is another hollow threat. The NFL voluntarily gave up its tax exemption awhile back.

    Another excellent column from Mr Newquist.

  3. Roger Elgersma 2017-10-13

    They are trying to make America great. Assuming it is great is naive. The right to find areas to make America better is what is great about it. Stopping the process of making America great is not matching Trumps talk, but then a lot of what he does is different than his talk.

  4. jerry 2017-10-13

    Fascism is when you wrap yourself around any flag. Hail to El Douche!!

  5. Jeff Barth 2017-10-13

    Perhaps if the players took the field waving confederate flags and shot the folks with the American flags we could place statues, carve mountains and name streets after them.

  6. Jeff Barth 2017-10-13

    Where are the statues honoring the slaves? Do only the Masters matter?

  7. Jeff Barth 2017-10-13

    “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.”
    Samuel Johnson

  8. Francis Schaffer 2017-10-13

    I am more upset by the Republicans taking a knee on thoughtful reforms on health insurance, medicaid for more, prescription drug price fixing, social security, infrastructure projects, endless military build up and war, please add your own items upon which they sat on the sideline or knelt when we really needed them to step up and lead. I imagine this is off topic, yet my point is no one in this country should be promoting forced patriotism.

  9. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-10-14

    Maybe off topic, Francis, but one of the best turns of that phrase that I’ve heard. Thank you.

  10. Dana P 2017-10-14

    Whoa, I sure can’t top Francis’ EXCELLENT comment, so I won’t even try.

    Forced and “paid for” patriotism is ridiculous. And sadly, this whole thing and the divisive nature of our so-called president, has allowed the conversation to stray from the exact issue these players are trying to bring attention to. And it isn’t just the violence from police (which is a biggie, that’s for sure) but it is also communities that don’t have the same opportunities, school systems that aren’t treated the same, and the list goes on. I wish that we could live in a country where it truly is the land of the free, home of the brave, with liberty and justice FOR ALL. That just isn’t happening and people that could work on making that change (hat tip to Francis) won’t.

    And it won’t happen as long as we have people in charge that don’t have a clue what white privilege really is. OR, in the case of the current administration, like it that way. Look no further than Trump and the people he has chosen. Bannon, Smith, Jeff Sessions, Gorka, and the list goes on. Hard to believe this is 2017

  11. Robin Friday 2017-10-14

    “Back to the rez” is not just an inconsequential slur between rivals. It’s derogatory to one race of people. It’s racism and deserves to be recognized as racism. That’s exactly what the football players are trying to bring attention to. It’s racism and it hurts. It hurts all of us as a nation and it needs to have attention drawn to it or it will never go away. I feel badly for the Sturgis kids that they’ve lost their homecoming but unless something like this happens we will never be free. What better place to learn that there are consequences, than school if not in the communityI

  12. Francis Schaffer 2017-10-14

    I try to be mindful that my life experiences are different from others. I will be respectful of that which I do not know, have not experienced, have not lived. If a person says that he/she experiences racism daily, I will not discount it, be dismissive or ever say – ‘get over it’. I need to find the common ground with all, so we working together can make a place in which all feel equally safe, free, understood, empowered to achieve our goals and dreams.

  13. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-10-15

    Being mindful that others’ lives differ from ours is a key step to keeping our community together.

  14. Francis Schaffer 2017-10-15

    Also the key to developing community.

  15. Rick Hauffe 2017-10-15

    The hard part of this protest tactic is just beginning. The owners are weighing in on the wrong side of history. That will be revealed in years to come as long as the champions who plant the knee are willing to also face the consequences. That willingness to put oneself in harm’s way was the center of power of the Civil Rights Movement and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. If you want to pull people out of their comfort zone, you as the protester must lead them there to make the point.

    This protest is a very long way from being successful if it is to succeed. I’ve never heard of a soldier dying for a piece of colorful cloth, only of those who served, fought and died to preserve the rights and values that the cloth represents. The NFL players who plant the knee are making a patriot’s stand. It’s their flag, too. They refuse to allow the myth to continue on national TV that people of color are protected equally. If that’s all it takes to spoil some white guy’s afternoon entertainment, then maybe he needs to turn off the tube and do some soul searching.

  16. Jeff Barth 2017-10-16

    Good points Rick.
    Colin Kaepernick has given up millions in football salary for what he believes. Muhammad Ali went to prison during the height of his career for what he believed in.
    Gotta respect that!!

  17. mike from iowa 2017-10-16

    If NFL owners imagine they can make the NFL go with white players only, they are sadly mistaken. If the Blacks and sympathetic whites go, the league, as we know it, is cooked.

    And I trust we can keep the reasoning behind the protests on track. It has nothing to do with disrespect for the flag or the military.

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