The issue of standing for the National Anthem became a major discussion within the last year when San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick decided to take a knee while the anthem played before a game. He did this as a way to protest the racial oppression and inequality in the United States. His point was that people of color and minorities are not afforded the same rights under the constitution as white people. Many people see the playing of the anthem as a tribute to America and the many people that fight for our freedom. I can understand where they are coming from, but if minorities are not entitled to the same freedoms as their fellow Americans then America is not being truthful with what it stands for and the anthem is not portraying what it is supposed to. Colin Kaepernick said he meant no disrespect to the war heroes and people that fight for us as a country, but felt that he needed to make a statement so he used his platform to do so. Many people bashed him and again tried to say that he had no right to do that before a game. I believe many people wanted to say he was bashing the military and our country as a scapegoat to avoid the issues he was actually drawing attention to, such as police brutality against black people that was going on in cities across the country including where he plays. According to an article on TIME written by Billy Witz, in his team’s final exhibition game before the start of the N.F.L. season, Kaepernick, along with his teammate Eric Reid, took a knee instead of a seat during “The Star-Spangled Banner,” all with the blessing of Kaepernick’s invited guest, Nate Boyer, a former member of the Army’s Green Berets. This was an important step because he was reaching to military personnel and trying to make progress for the country as a whole. According to Chuck Schilken of the LA Times Boyer wrote an open letter to Kaepernick, which included this quote, “Even though my initial reaction to your protest was one of anger, I’m trying to listen to what you’re saying and why you’re doing it,” wrote Boyer. This brings up the point that if someone who has served the country and is a respected veteran can be open to what Kaepernick is doing than why can’t a regular citizen take the same approach?
He later stated he would donate the first one million dollars of his salary to charitable organizations. He set up a charity section through his website that allows people to donate, but also see where he is sending the money and the organizations and cities that are benefiting from his work.
With all that being said, I believe players should not be forced to stand for the national anthem and that their rights are protected. I can also understand that the owners of the teams who employ these players have the right to put a policy in place for the players to stand or be subject to consequences, but there is no one that should be able to look at what Kaepernick did and say his intentions were wrong or he does not make notice of a valid problem across the United States.
When it comes to the new found obsession with daily fantasy sports through sites such as Fanduel and Draftkings, the question comes up about the legality of the sites. Some people argue that it is gambling and betting on players, while others see it as a game just like season long fantasy sports. There is a lot of money being made by these sites and people believe the idea of them losing their money on a daily basis makes it similar to gambling which should be illegal. The argument that these sites make is that it is a game of skill as well as chance and not all based on luck. According to fortune.com the definition of gambling in every state is typically defined as playing games of chance for money like craps and roulette which is considered “gambling” while playing games of skill is not. I would have to agree and can see the sites point in saying that choosing the right team or selecting players is not all random and some knowledge and thought has to go into it to be successful. A big topic with these sites is that they are not very regulated and generate large revenues. The earnings for each site were as follows:
FanDuel: $15 million in entry fees; $12.8 million in prizes awarded; $2.2 million revenue.
DraftKings: $20.7 million in entry fees; $18.9 million in prizes; $1.8 million revenue.
This is important because I believe companies earning that much should probably be regulated a little more strictly, however I still do not see them as gambling and feel they should be legal.
The idea that the NBA and the NFL have control as to when an athlete can choose to pursue a professional career is one that does not make much sense. I think that the decision should be up to the individual and when someone is 18 years old they are able to decide what they want to do with their life. I believe that especially in the NBA where athletes are forced to wait until one year after high school to turn pro, that the rule is only put in place to protect NBA teams. The idea that kids are gaining the needed experience or maturity in that one year is just a cover up and a disguise for the NBA to basically use a free minor league system to evaluate a player. The main argument is that a kid is not emotionally or mentally ready for the NBA out of high school, but how much difference is a year actually going to make? I do not think it helps players and in turn also hurts colleges because you have players that do not want to be there feeling like they are forced to play for a year. I think that going to college even for football players to force them to stay there for three years is useless. If an athlete is ready after one or two he should be able to go. Most of these kids are not finishing their degrees even if they do stay for three years. An article on out kick the coverage brought up the point that only 4.3% of baseball players have a college degree. I think that the idea that pro leagues place a value on education is fake and put out there to try to protect their brand in society.