The national anthem protests have been a huge part of sports for the past two years. We’ve seen many athletes protest the national anthem by sitting down, kneeling, and not standing with their hand on their heart.

This has obviously been met with backlash and outrage. But I’m actually confused why.

Also Read: DE Bennett Expects Backlash Over Protest

Let’s get this one out of the way first. People will yell and scream how these players are disrespecting the military by not standing. This is false and simply not true whatsoever. Michael Bennett proves this. Bennett refused to stand for the national anthem this past weekend due to what was happening in Charlottesville. He addressed this very misconception about the military:

"First of all, I want people to understand that I love the military," Bennett said. "My father's in the military. I love hot dogs like any other American. I love football like any other American. But I don't love segregation. I don't love riots or oppression. I just want to see people have the equality that they deserve. And I want to be able to use this platform to continuously push the message of that."

These players are not disrespecting our military. The national anthem is not a military thing, it’s a country thing. So let’s stop with that. We all have respect for our military, as we should. They are heroes. But protesting the anthem does not mean you are protesting the military. At all.

I have no issue with players who want to protest. It’s their right as an American to peacefully protest. They are not disturbing anyone. They are simply refusing to stand because they are unhappy with the racial inequality, among other issues, in this country right now. They have a right to do so if they choose. They aren’t hurting anybody.

Let’s take a detailed look at Michael Bennett’s comments and why he decided to sit down during the anthem:

"I want to be able to use this platform to continuously push the message … of how unselfish you can be as a society," Bennett said via "How we can continuously love one another and understand that people are different, and just because they're different, it doesn't mean that you shouldn't like them.”

“Because they don't smell the way you smell and they don't eat what you eat, because they don't pray to the same god that you pray to, doesn't mean that you should hate them.”

"Whether it's Muslim or Buddhists or Christianity, whatever it is, I just want people to understand that no matter what, we're in this thing together. It's more about being a human being at this point."

I don’t know why people have a problem with this. It’s your right, and perhaps your duty, as an American to speak up and stand for what you believe in. There’s no doubt America has faced major issues of racial inequality lately and these players have every right to demonstrate their displeasure in a peaceful way, like some are doing.

We live in a society where everyone wants to be outraged about something. Let’s pump the brakes on the kicking and screaming about these NFL players choosing to protest. They have every right to do so.

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