Get Involved – A Perspective on Protests

The Prairie Editorial Staff

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There are two things Texans love: sports and the freedoms afforded by the Bill of Rights.

Right now, they are colliding and unsurprisingly, everybody has an opinion about it.

From that random lady on Facebook that you cannot remember how you know her to the President of the United States, theories are everywhere regarding National Football League players kneeling for the national anthem before games in protest of police brutality towards and overall oppression of people of color in America.

It is important for citizens to have opinions and yes, it is afforded under the First Amendment that everyone can share those opinions freely and openly. However, there is one question most people are not considering here.

What are you doing about it?

It is totally fine that you shared that CNN article or even a Buzzfeed video about President Trump calling certain NFL players “sons of b——” and leaving comments under it about how you feel, but if you are not doing anything about it, your opinion really carries no weight.

Colin Kaepernick, who so famously began this political movement in the NFL, is finishing up his yearlong $1 million pledge this week with $100,000 in donations to inner city schools.

NBA player Lebron James has chimed in to defend sports players of color against criticism from fans and powerful political figures. The Lebron James Family Foundation has given millions of dollars to charities and annually spends at least $1 million on education initiatives alone.

MLB catcher Bruce Maxwell recently became the first baseball player to kneel during the national anthem. He coaches high school baseball as a volunteer assistant coach in his area to help influence younger generations of men.

As American citizens here at the Prairie, obviously we appreciate and cannot repay the sacrifices our soldiers make for us. We believe in the freedoms that the American national anthem represents. We are also a newspaper and strongly believe in the First Amendment. It affords us our right to inform the public without fear of repercussions from the government.

These major athletic figures are making a stance but backing it up off the field/ court. As regular citizens, it is crucial that we back up our stances outside of social media.

Volunteer in your community. Become a member of a big brother, big sister group. Tutor local high school students. Hand out lunches to homeless people in downtown Amarillo. Who knows? Chances are you will find a veteran who became down on their luck. You want to respect our flag and the sacrifices our soldiers make? About 39% of Amarillo’s homeless population is comprised of veterans (according to the VA Affairs Hospital in Amarillo). Take them blankets. Take them food. Even just talk to them.

Our nation is currently lacking empathy in a major way. Hiding behind a computer screen while ignoring real problems will never get anything done. We at the Prairie challenge our readers to become involved in something bigger than them.

Whether we like it or not, sports are becoming increasingly tainted with political opinions. Let us remember the reasons why there is a protest in the first place and the ideals that our anthem represents. Acting on these as a community will calm unrest and just might make football just a game again.

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