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Straddling the Fence on The National Anthem

Brian Taylor

Posted on September 26, 2017 18:45

5 users

One man's attempt to find middle ground in a contentious debate.

Photo by Will Leverett
Photo by Will Leverett

This is one of my favorite pictures that anybody has ever captured of me "in the wild." That's me in the red shirt holding the scarf that says "I Believe," loudly and proudly singing our national anthem with thousands of fellow American Outlaws before a big CONCACAF Cup game against Mexico at the Rose Bowl. 

In light of that dialogue over the NFL's response to Donald Trump's comments about kneeling during the anthem, I've thought about this picture a lot and many others that would be out there if the camera found me during the anthem before any sporting event, particularly one involving any of our national teams.

I understand the reasons that Colin Kaepernick began taking a knee last year and why others around the league have joined him. It's not about dissing our country or spitting in the faces of our veterans and those who gave their lives on the battlefield. It's about raising awareness of the racial divide and inequalities that continue to plague us. Like those who support the reasons the players have taken a stand, I am concerned about that direction our country has been going in and the tensions around recent events domestically and abroad, and the amount of long lasting damage that is being done to our country and our place in the world.

At many of the sporting events I've attended, the PA Announcer uses the specific words "honor America" by paying respect to the national anthem. In spite of the problems that have been outlined earlier, I choose to see the good in America. I see it in the work that my talented coworkers do during the day, providing medical care and resources to homeless men and women and giving them a sense of dignity and hope. I see it when millions of Americans rise up and contact their legislators to kill a bill that would take health insurance away from millions of Americans. I see it when I travel to US Soccer matches and see people from across the country from different backgrounds come together as one to cheer our country on to victory.

These daily reminders of why America already is great are why I will always choose to stand for the national anthem and I hope that you will too. However, I understand if you believe strongly enough in using that moment to bring attention to where we can do better and want to exercise that First Amendment right. If you kneel next to me, I will proudly place my hand on your shoulder and support you.

Brian Taylor

Posted on September 26, 2017 18:45

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A Barcelona brewery, La Lenta, is saluting the goal with a citrus-tinged ale called Golden Koeman.

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