“Sons of bitches” or Not, We All Need to Unite as Americans

When I go to a sporting event, or any other place for that matter, and the national anthem of the United States plays, I place my hand over my heart and face the flag.

It’s just what I’ve always done and what I’ve come to believe is the proper thing to do when the national anthem is played. Now, as a father, I’ve taught my young children to do the same and I hope that in the future they also teach their children to do the same.

My children and I watch sporting events together, both in person and on television. Recently, during many of those games on TV or in person we have seen athletes make the decision to kneel during the playing of our national anthem. Though my kids are young they’ve noticed the players kneeling. My daughter, who is only eight years old, asked me last week, “why is the guy on the TV kneeling during the Star-Spangled Banner? Does that make you mad?”.

My response to her was simple, he’s kneeling because that’s what he feels is right just as we hold our hands over our hearts and face the flag because that is what we feel is right. I continued to tell her that I wasn’t mad, it’s his right as an American to do as he pleases with his freedom of speech and if she ever felt the same way she could also do that. But I hope that she does not have to.

Even though I believe that everyone should stand for the playing of our national anthem, as a tribute to those who gave their lives for this country and allow us to be here demonstrating our freedom of speech, it would be hypocritical of me to tell someone else what to do when they’re only doing what they feel is right.

When Colin Kaepernick first began kneeling for the national anthem, my immediate reaction was that he should stand and respect the flag and those that died protecting it, thus allowing him the opportunity to play a game and make millions of dollars. However, after listening to him and hearing what he wanted to accomplish by protesting silently, I began to understand exactly what he felt. He wasn’t kneeling because of his own injustice or because he was ungrateful for the millions of dollars he has made or the opportunities he has been given, but more so to bring into the light, the darkness that those without such a stage were dealing with.

What started as Colin Kaepernick doing what he felt was right, has turned into a fairly large following of mostly NFL players kneeling during the national anthem to protest social injustices in this country.

Until tonight, I never felt Like it was something I should write about. As I stated earlier in this piece, I don’t necessarily agree with kneeling, but I understand it. However, comments by President Trump about firing the “sons of bitches” who kneel during the national anthem, while at a rally of his in Alabama struck a chord with me and made me think maybe it’s time I use my freedom of speech and let these thoughts pour out of my head.

There is one thing that bothers me immensely more than someone kneeling for the national anthem ever could and that is hypocrisy.

President Trump’s comments tonight should allow him to be a first ballot member in the hypocrisy Hall of Fame. This is a Man who talks about freedom of speech and how great of a country United States is all while trying to silence anyone who disagrees with him.

Enough is enough.

If you truly want to make America great again, then we need to stop dividing this country and once again become the United States of America by acknowledging that everyone has their basic freedoms such as the freedom of speech that are constitution has given us And because of that has a right to do or say what they feel is necessary. Trump has his right to call anyone sons of bitches, just as those who feel social injustices have the right to kneel during the playing of the Star-Spangled Banner.

The biggest difference is that the comments of the leader of the free world come across as angry, spiteful, and hateful. This is a man who called neo-Nazis in Charlottesville “very fine people” before coming out days later stating that there was blame on “both sides” and yet called those who stage peaceful and quiet protests “Sons of bitches” that deserve to be fired.

What bothers me the most about it, is that maybe these men are trying to make America great again, trying to make the flag stand for everything that it should, a united, peaceful country, where those of all colors and cultures are given the freedom to live as they please. Isn’t that the idea that this country was founded on?

Even more confusing, is why these comments are needed by the president as we are country trying to heal from multiple hurricanes that affected Florida, Texas, and Puerto Rico. Millions of people need help, food, shelter, and especially in Puerto Rico face months without electricity.

The more bothersome fact is that these comments are not even the most recent batch of ridiculous blabber coming from President Trump when it comes to something other than politics or fixing this country.

Last week, the White House and Trump came out saying that ESPN host Jemele Hill should be fired for a tweet where she called the President a “white supremacist”. While I do not necessarily agree with that statement, when you hold a rally, in Alabama, and get a rise out of calling out black men as “sons of bitches”, the needle starts to sway a little more towards Hill being closer to right than wrong.

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Stop focusing on getting a rise out of people at your rallies and begin to focus on fixing the things that truly matter. The actions of this administration are getting harder and harder to understand or defend.

Whether we are white or black, Asian or Mexican, Chinese, Japanese, or whatever race or nationality we are, the divisiveness needs to stop and we need to realize that there are good and bad people of every race and culture.

Can that happen while Trump is in office? For the sake of my children, I hope so, but I am beginning to lose faith in that.

If this country truly wants to be great again we need to come together not as a race or a culture but as a country and as Americans. Just because you don’t believe in something and you may find it wrong, doesn’t mean that it is wrong. We can have a difference of opinion’s, but if we are going to truly believe that we have the freedom of speech to do or say what we please then we need to stop being hypocrites and allow everyone else those same thoughts and ideals.

This Sunday, when the NFL is set to play its slate of games, here is to hope that ALL players stand or kneel united as one group of “sons of bitches” and as Americans.

Browns, Kirksey, Agree to Extension

The Cleveland Browns and linebacker Christian Kirksey agreed to a four-year, $38 million contract extension. The deal includes $20 million in guaranteed money. 

The move also continues the Browns strong offseason of bringing in new talent and  ensuring they keep the little talent that they already had on their roster. 

Kirksey, a former standout at Iowa, has been one of the few bright spots on th Browns defense over the past few seasons. While the Browns were just 1-15 in 2016, Kirksey had one of his best seasons as a pro recording 148 tackles and adding 2.5 sacks. 

Locking up Kirksey on a defense that has seen a tidal wave of talent come to the shores of Lake Erie should set the Browns defense up to compete in the coming years.  

Browns Hire Former Colts GM Grigson

The Cleveland Browns have hired Ryan Grigson as a Senior Personnel Executive. He will report to Vice President of Player Personnel Andrew Berry, who once worked under him in Indianapolis while Grigson was the Colts general manager. 

On the teams website, Executive Vice President of Football Operations gave Grigson a glowing review,”Ryan brings valuable experience to our personnel group,” said Brown. “He was raised as a road-scout and has been evaluating talent in this league for almost 20 years. We place a premium on that experience and on his passion for football. Ryan has much to offer to any personnel department and we are pleased that he chose to join our staff.”

Grigson was the Colts GM from 2012-16 and was named NFL Executive of the Year in his first season when he drafted Andrew Luck and changed the teams fortunes after they lost Peyton Manning. In the seasons after, he struggled to build a roster around the teams franchise quarterback and eventually was shown the door. 
While he was a terrible GM, in my opinion, he will not be the decision maker in Cleveland, just another experienced voice. It’ll be a role that will best suit his skill set in talent evaluation, something he showed a decent ability to do while working with the Philadelphia Eagles. 

Browns, Garrett Agree to Deal

The Cleveland Browns and number one overall pick Myles Garrett have agreed to terms on a four-year rookie contract worth $30.4 million.  

As he was putting pen to paper Garrett chose to have “Kiss From a Rose” by Seal playing in the background. Hopefully, like “Kiss From a Rose”, Garrett will become a classic from the 1990’s. 

The team made a slew of other moves as well on Friday as they signed DL Caleb Brantley to four-year deal, just days after he had battery charges against him dropped. They also waived DL Gabe Wright and claimed OL Chris Barker off of waivers from the New England Patriots. 

Charges Dropped Against Rookie DT Brantley

In April, the Cleveland Browns took a chance on talent over trouble when they selected Florida defensive tackle Caleb Brantley in the 6th round of th 2017 NFL Draft. 

On Wednesday, their chance, and his chances of making the team out of training camp, improved when the former Gator had his misdemeanor battery charge dismissed. Brantley was accused of striking a woman and allegedly knocked her unconscious. 

According to a report, the Florida state attorney’s office concluded its investigation into Brantley and determined that there was not sufficient evidence to charge him. 

Originally considered a late first to mid second round pick, Brantley’s off field issues led him to a massive slide into the sixth round. The incident cost Brantley a massive sum of money and is a black mark on his character that he will have to work extremely hard to make people move on from. 

Browns, McCourty Agree to Two-Year Deal

The Cleveland Browns and free agent CB Jason McCourty have agreed to a two-year deal on Tuesday, according to various reports. 

McCourty, an eight-year veteran, was formerly with the Tennessee Titans. 

The addition of a veteran presence will help the Browns young and lackluster secondary as McCourty can play at cornerback or at free safety where the Browns have been searching for a starter since losing Tashaun Gipson in free agency prior to the 2016 season. 

According to NFL Network reporter Courtney Fallon, McCourty has told her that he is signing a two-year, six million dollar deal with two million guaranteed to come to Cleveland. 

Wilson Fractures Patella

In the first practice of his NFL career, Browns rookie Howard Wilson, a 4th round selection from Houston, fractured his patella and will miss “significant” time in 2017. 

It is possible that Wilson will miss the entire 2017 season, but more will be known after he has surgery on the broken kneecap. 

The Browns traded up to select Wilson as the 126th selection overall in last month’s draft in Philadelphia.       
As more information becomes available, this article will be updated. 
             

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