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Why Do Whites Oppose The NFL Protests?

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Why Do Whites Oppose The NFL Protests?


Reprinted with permission from Creators.

In a poll, whites were asked whether the NFL players kneeling in protest during the national anthem are helping or hurting the cause of racial justice. No fewer than 85 percent said they’re hurting it.

Clearly, this offense to the anthem and the American flag is the worst possible way to change minds. Blacks need to find a less divisive means to register their discontent.

Oh, wait. I’ve got that wrong. Those figures don’t come from a new poll. They come from a survey taken in 1966 asking whites whether “the demonstrations by Negroes on civil rights have helped more or hurt more in the advancement of Negro rights.”

Only 15 percent of whites surveyed thought those peaceful protests would advance the cause of integration and equality. Martin Luther King Jr. and his nonviolent methods are honored even by conservatives today, but in 1967, half of whites said he was harming blacks, with only 36 percent disagreeing.

In many respects, the country has changed a lot since then — partly because of those unpopular demonstrations. What has not changed is that whites generally resent organized efforts by African-Americans to raise grievances and seek change. Last year, a Reuters poll found that 63 percent of whites disapproved of NFL players kneeling during the anthem — compared with 17 percent of blacks.

The Black Lives Matter movement is also unpopular among whites. Only 35 percent hold a positive view of it, according to a recent Harvard-Harris Poll, compared with 83 percent of blacks. The negative opinions could be attributed to the noisy, disruptive marches it has held or to the occasional outbreaks of violence that have resulted. The killing of five Dallas police officers at a Black Lives Matter demonstration last year (by a gunman unconnected to the group) also alienated a lot of people.

But if you don’t like how Black Lives Matter pursues its agenda, you should welcome the NFL players’ approach. It’s silent; it’s not disruptive; and it’s entirely nonviolent. It doesn’t stop traffic, occupy police or frighten bystanders.

Critics say it’s disrespectful to the flag, but no flags are harmed — and it could be taken as a form of respect for the flag to mutely signal your belief that the ideals it represents are not being realized.

That the display evokes so much fury and disgust among whites, from the president on down, confirms what was evident 50 years ago. The problem is not how blacks raise their complaints about American society; it’s that they raise them.

When LeBron James and other NBA players wore shirts that said “I can’t breathe” to protest police killings of unarmed black men, Commissioner Adam Silver expressed his disapproval, and Fox News commentator Geraldo Rivera slammed James. When several black St. Louis Rams came out for a game with their hands raised to protest the killing of Michael Brown, the local police union demanded they be punished.

Every time unrest erupts out in black communities in response to some perceived injustice, finger-wagging whites wonder why blacks can’t express their dissent in an orderly, law-abiding way. But every time African-Americans protest peacefully, the same whites object to the message, the tactics, the purpose or the slogans.

Unsympathetic whites often ask why blacks are so unwilling to acknowledge progress, to express gratitude for living in a free country and to focus on the problems in their own communities. But unsympathetic whites asked the same questions back in the 1960s. Many whites have always been in a hurry for African-Americans to stop griping about discrimination and get over it.

Detractors demand to know how such highly paid athletes have the nerve to question a country that has rewarded them so richly. They could ask the same question about Donald Trump — who owes his wealth to a nation that his inaugural address depicted in nightmarish terms.

Trump can insulate himself from the dangers he sees. But these players are as much at risk from bad cops as other black men. A GenForward poll last year found that only 26 percent of young adult African-Americans trust police to do the right thing, compared with 73 percent of their white peers. Small wonder that Colin Kaepernick and other black athletes want to draw attention to what they regard as a mortal danger.

Are there better ways for them to make their point? Maybe so. But it wouldn’t make much difference. To many whites, the only good black protest is no black protest.

Steve Chapman blogs at http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/chapman. Follow him on Twitter @SteveChapman13 or at https://www.facebook.com/stevechapman13. To find out more about Steve Chapman and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.




  1. dbtheonly September 28, 2017

    Black Lives Matter might have chosen a better name. BLM allows the RWMO to use the name as an exclusive rather than inclusive manner. Thus you get the “Blue Lives Matter” pro-police stickers and slogans.

    Equally, given the number of white, players, coaches, and owners participating in this weeks protests, I’m unconvinced that the 85% cited from 1966 would hold true today. I haven’t seen anything specific yet.

  2. Sundance98 September 28, 2017

    *Look……”The Kap” initially….was just a grandstanding move in order to get some playing time. If that sounds cynical….perhaps it is. However, once the Teletrumpster came out with his SOB Comment…….it was game on. We never liked LeBron James…but we have to say……we are now his biggest fans. Steph Curry will always be our hero…..and every NFL Player that took action this last week-end are absolutely heroes in our mind. They try to downplay the actions of the Dallas Cowboys as being “too cute”. We thought Jerry Jones actions were spot on. As far as other teams not even showing up for the National Anthem……..just fine with us. We guess they all could have showed up and flipped off the Commander in Chief….but then, the way they did it was even better. No disrespect for our Flag, Our Veterans or their dedication to our country. We have no clue how long this action will continue…..but it wasn’t the NFL Players that created this issue. In fact, we have to praise NFL Roger Goodell…..for backing the owners and the players is this completely unnecessary attack on a social problem that needs resolution when it comes to the “Special” general treatment of minorities in this country. Everyone has seen the videos, everyone has watched the events starting with Travon Martin….Everyone understands how dirty politics and NCAA Sports has become…along with a lot more…….but as far as the NFL, NBA and MLB players stating their case in whatever fashion……….someone opened Pandora’s box and their voices need to be heard. Pete Carroll may have said it best: “The issues need to be addressed!”

  3. PatrickHenry September 28, 2017

    What a predictable article, playing the race-card again. Actually this article is racist since it assumes only Whites are offended by players disrespecting OUR Flag & National Anthem. You assume no Blacks are offended?
    Knee or no knee, FANS pay to watch FOOTBALL, not political BS. They can protest on their own time, not OURS. Get it?

    1. Joe September 28, 2017

      You don’t read very well do you? this article shows percentages of blacks for, or against these demonstrations…..

    2. TZToronto September 28, 2017

      Can you not watch football? Are the games halted in any way because of these very mild protests? There is not even a delay of the game while the protests happen.

      1. PatrickHenry October 1, 2017

        Can’t you show respect for your Country as MILLIONS have for decades? Just because you don’t like Trump apparently. Obama certainly wasn’t patriotic.

        1. TZToronto October 1, 2017

          You mentioned Obama. I didn’t. As long as you brought it up, President Obama had more interest in America than either Trump or most Congressional Republicans either then or now. Patriotism doesn’t depend on a flag or a song. It certainly doesn’t have anything to do with a football game, and if you need a flag or a song to be patriotic, then you’re no patriot.

          1. PatrickHenry October 8, 2017

            Tell that to the wounded or dead Military & their families.Typical Liberal BS.

    3. The lucky one September 28, 2017

      A good question would be how many people of whatever skin tone actually watch the anthem. My guess is very few.

      1. PatrickHenry October 1, 2017

        All the games we go to, just about everyone stands with their hat off and their hand over their heart. Patriotism is what holds a Country together, Unites us, not divides us like these protesters do.

        1. The lucky one October 2, 2017

          “just about everyone stands with their hat off and their hand over their heart” Just about everyone with a notable exception of the hypocrite in chief. Does Trump’s lack of respect for the flag offend you?


          1. PatrickHenry October 8, 2017

            Uh, was the National Anthem being played?

    4. notafoxfan September 28, 2017

      ph..I would say to your point…,just how many of those fans at games (or watching at home or in a sports bar)actually stand in respect,hand on heart,make america great again hats off, and think of patriotism at the presentation (however its is done) of the American flag and the singing of the national anthem,whether they are white,black,,hispanic or whatever..most people just want to get whomever is doing whatever awfully sung version of the anthem,off the field and get on with the game.as mr trump loves to say, “believe me”..i have been to a few game watching parties and no one pays attention until the game starts,and at a sports bar, people are too busy drinking to acknowledge either the anthem or the flag….be honest with yourself.

      1. PatrickHenry October 1, 2017

        I don’t recall OUR Flag being raised at a bar.

    5. johninPCFL September 28, 2017

      Apparently no facts are EVER required to spark your adolescent outrage. The anthem wasn’t played at NFL games until the 2000s when the army began spending taxpayer money paying the NFL to play it (to boost recruitment efforts.) The players weren’t even on the field yet. The players were not present until 2009.

      And just in case you missed it, the game starts AFTER the anthem is complete. Kneeling during the anthem doesn’t interfere with the game at all.

      1. PatrickHenry October 1, 2017

        OUR National Anthem was played, respected, and stood for from 1860 till now. Your flimsey excuses for un-American behavior is typical of Leftists. Almost ALL Fans don’t want to see, or hear ANY political BS during a game or before it. Our Anthem certainly was played for years, I also went to many Baseball games since a young kid and stood with my hand over my heart, as everyone did then. The NFL has lots of rules so your 1st. Amendment RIGHTS is BS. Players can’t taunt, have excessive celebrations and the RULES state that they must ALL stand and look at the flag during OUR National Anthem. Guess you don’t either, huh?

        1. johninPCFL October 1, 2017

          Wow. So you know nothing of history either.

          The anthem was written as a poem during the war of 1812, dolt. Not the civil war. And it was matched to a British bar drinking song (you know, like Camptown Ladies), so everybody would know the tune. Verse three is specifically about how we despise the negroes because some were fighting with the British FOR THEIR FREEDOM. You know, because the British had already outlawed slavery, but we still had folks like Jeff Sessions in Congress.

          You lie like a trump! Please point to the paragraph where I mentioned “the first amendment” Ah, but of course. The only way you can “win” is to lie!

          1. PatrickHenry October 8, 2017

            Nobody said the civil way dummy, nice try tnough. LMAO.

          2. johninPCFL October 9, 2017

            Your ignorance just bubbles over. You put 1860 into your reply, and last I checked, that’s the date of the civil war. Nice try, though.

          3. PatrickHenry October 10, 2017

            I see you are quite unintelligent to comprehend anything but knee-jerk, Liberal reactions. 1860 was just the date of the National Anthem being used, not discussing the Civil War. Duhhh!

          4. johninPCFL October 10, 2017

            You put in the date. The actual anthem dates from 1814, like I posted, and was attached to an English drinking tune. How’s that for a fine how-do-you-do? Get drunk and sing the anthem?

            And then verse three about hating the negroes fighting FOR THEIR OWN FREEDOM? Wow. An anthem that specifically calls out slavery as a great thing? Maybe it’s time to recognize that black folks refusing to stand for a drinking tune praising their slavery is OK?

          5. PatrickHenry October 12, 2017

            Now that’s your new excuse for black folks kneeling at OUR Anthem and Flag?

          6. johninPCFL October 12, 2017

            Or what they’re actually protesting – police in the US have killed over twice a many black citizens as Al-Queda and ISIS combined since 9/11/2001.


          7. PatrickHenry November 1, 2017

            But MOST Blacks are killed by other Blacks, & YOU know it.

          8. johninPCFL November 1, 2017

            True. And most whites are killed by other whites.

            But what they’re protesting is that most black SUSPECTS are killed by WHITE officers, before any trial or adjudication.

          9. PatrickHenry November 5, 2017

            LOT less Whites killed by other Whites! Some of those Blacks killed by Police Officers were BLACK Police Officers!!!

          10. johninPCFL November 5, 2017

            Twice as many black men killed by police as by ISIS is something to be PROUD OF, right? And “some” doesn’t equal “most”; like two of the hundreds. Also, more whites are killed by police than blacks, so maybe EVERYBODY should take a knee.

            15000 people murdered using guns every year, and most are white. From the 2013 FBI Crime Statistics report: “84% of white murder victims were killed by other whites, according to the Justice Department ”

            You apparently are still swilling the Orange Trumpscrement.

        2. The lucky one October 2, 2017

          “the RULES state that they must ALL stand and look at the flag during OUR National Anthem”

          What rules? If it’s in the contract or team code of conduct you have a case, otherwise not.

    6. Aaron_of_Portsmouth September 29, 2017

      You were destined from adolescence to remain infantile.

      1. PatrickHenry October 1, 2017

        You are destined to be a LOSER! An anti-American LOSER!

    7. The lucky one October 2, 2017

      Was the game being played when the players took a knee?

  4. Joe September 28, 2017

    White Europeans came here to America and disrespected American Indians from day one, calling them “red savages,” attempted to annihilate them from the face of the earth, now they are all up in arms about a racist anthem, all while loving their racist confederate flag that they used to turn on the government of the United States, all too keep their slaves! Such hypocrites these people are!

  5. ivory69690@yahoo.com September 28, 2017

    question is asked >(Why Does Kneeling Offend Whites? ) interesting question to say the least .the closest answer could be of what people don’t admit to . that thy are closet racist’s . thy know what thy are but with out saying it one feels then thy are not that .alcoholics ,drug addicts , even gay ‘s for what ever reason thy feel if the don’t admit that thy are that way then it means thy are not that way . another thing one might find strange is even people that have ones in their family that may have mixed race children even them say how can I be racist I have mixed race in my family so I cant be racist .check DR. PHIL on that one for having mixed race in ones family isn’t a get out of racist free card (this might not be the same for all ) heck one can call me being a white male racist to some point for I only care about one race myself THE HUMAN RACE . the truth is no matter what there are too many closet racist people in the USA (around the world ) just out side America its not a thing that ones try’s to hide . for there in most places thy are proud to be the hatful evil racist IN THAT WORLD ONE CAN GET IN MORE TROUBLE IF THE DONT HATE there the closet part might step in for in ones heart and mind thy can have love for all and not care and not be racist at all . but have to say thy hate to protect and save themselves pretty much the same for .alcoholics ,drug addicts , even gay ‘s for what ever reason to protect one self or denying of a problem with alcohol or drugs .

  6. Abe Massad September 28, 2017

    It always amazes me how some people pick the worst to be their Heroes…If you do not Respect your flag, family and country….What does that say about you …regardless what your friends say….Stand up and Think
    Can you not respect your self….and what this country has allowed you to achieve…Yes, it has allowed you to be or not to be…
    Think about how many celebs….said, if Ms. Trump , wins they are leaving….hmmm…wonder why they are still here…


    1. TZToronto September 28, 2017

      America has not “allowed” people to succeed. The Declaration of Independence points out that the rights enjoyed by Americans have not been given to them by a government. In fact, the Declaration of Independence was written because a government wanted to take those away rights, which, the Declaration says are given to people by God. So make no mistake. The ability to achieve is God-given (i.e., natural). No one in America is “allowed” to succeed, but many obstacles are thrown in the path of black people who simply want to enjoy their rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (in addition to those guaranteed by the Constitution).

    2. The lucky one September 28, 2017

      “It always amazes me how some people pick the worst to be their Heroes” Yes and that is certainly true for those who idolize Trump.

      “If you do not Respect your flag, family and country….What does that say about you …” I don’t agree that the athlete’s kneeling disrespects the country or the flag but I can understand why someone could have that knee jerk reaction but I can’t see how their act equates to disrespecting their family by any stretch of the imagination.

      You can disagree with their stance but your contention that protestors lack self-respect is ridiculous. Do you really think it is the government’s prerogative to decide whether we live or die or to determine the degree of success we are allowed? If so maybe you should do some historical research. You can start with the revolution against English tyranny.

    3. George September 28, 2017

      Trump did the greatest disrespect to the flag. He stands in front of it….You know he dodged the draft like your other hero Cheney?

    4. Aaron_of_Portsmouth September 29, 2017

      Abe, you’re confused. A nation isn’t akin to God, nor is any piece of cloth produced from coarse fibers destined to return to the dust from whence it came. Your conflation of patriotism with worship of God is a polytheism, the human spirit doesn’t derive from a nation, Abe, and family is composed of human beings who transcend the material realm. Don’t compare your family or any other human beings with artificial constructs.


  7. ivory69690@yahoo.com September 28, 2017

    as my point being it dosent bother white race or people that its black people being targeted and or murdered by white racist hatful cops . would all like to see a quick change in things ? let it be that black cops are shooting down dead white people as thy have their hands up in the air (and on video tapes mind you ) and a president or the law not addressing it or as little address that is being giving besides the white cops getting off scot free on murder charges. ask yourself if it was to be that black cops were getting away with murder of white people how much b/s would thy get away with for taking a knee for the same reason on the Anthem . and would the blacks be ok for saying (Why Does Kneeling Offend Blacks ? )

  8. ps0rjl September 28, 2017

    I am so tired of people complaining that the players kneeling are disrespecting our anthem, our flag, or our country. Just get over it. It is a peaceful protest and as such is not only allowed but guaranteed by our Constitution. And before anyone attacks me for being un-American, I am white, a Marine, and a Vietnam veteran. If the draft-dodging chickenhawk President had just kept his big mouth shut, this would not have grown into such a large protest.

    1. cthetruth September 28, 2017

      Well said! Thank you for realizing that freedom of speech is not selective and everyone’s right and thank you for your service.

  9. dpaano September 28, 2017

    First of all, I’m obviously white, a retired veteran, and a baby boomer….and I don’t have ANY problems with their protest. It’s peaceful and it has nothing to do with disrespecting the flag or the country..it’s their way of making a VALID point, and I applaud them for being non-violent and trying to make their feelings heard by a president and his voters who believe in limiting the First Amendment to only what THEY want to hear and not what anyone else wants to say!

    1. ivory69690@yahoo.com September 29, 2017

      you and one says black people should protest peacefully . what the same form and frame of peace the neo Nazi white supremacist did and do ?( as for you dpaano you’re all white by me hi hope all is going well 😉 . ) what DUMP 45 did was while still keeping the attention on himself as always the addicted junky .. was to shift it in away the neo Nazi white supremacist like himself can jump on board knocking the blacks sad sick but too true how thy work . instead of people even trying to ask or have the intelligence to try to find out the reason why thy are taking a knee for the Anthem . the neo Nazi white supremacist like dump 45 know the reason thy just don’t care . but for all those that may not know the reason its them that should just ask why its being done to try to understand this issue . and if for nothing else ask them self when thy get enlighten would you feel the same way if the shoe was on your foot ?

  10. TZToronto September 28, 2017

    Here’s the point. Whether people attending the games or watching them on TV are in favor of the protests or against them, they are exposed to them. The protests do not go unnoticed. If you see the protest, you are given the opportunity to have an opinion. If you have an opinion, you may express it. If you can express your opinion, why can’t athletes do the same? I have seen some comments that say that the football players should protest on their own time. If they did that, who would notice? Most people would not see it and would, therefore, not have an opinion. In order to effect change, you need to know that the change is needed.

    1. George September 28, 2017

      Trump should also not comment when being president he should wait till he “leaves” office…

  11. Emilio September 28, 2017

    First, when IS it valid for people to protest what they perceive as wrongs in our society? Ask Fox and Friends and it would seem like anywhere is fine, as long as it is not public. The whole point of protest is to disrupt, is to be public, is to be noticed to show fellow countrymen that you believe a wrong is being perpetrated in your shared country. For people who don’t like it or think these players have no right to complain- because of what America has given them! What a pile of crap. You ask any of these same people about their own status in life and the first person most will credit is themselves and their own initiative. For black athletes though, the standard seems to be that they were given whatever they have gotten from this country. Ironic especially considering that for athletes, personal initiative and ability counts for more than anything else-either you are good enough or not.

    So screw americas couch potatoes who think athletes should have no other purpose than to service their entertainment needs. God forbid they take a knee during the anthem to protest what I have viewed as a systematic killing of black men by our nations law enforcement. I know I have often thought that the black people I have seen endure the loss of their boys and their husbands to out of control law enforcement officers. Then these officers end up getting away scott free after essentially murdering these men. And yes, law enforcement does have some dangers associated with it, but that is part of the job description, Policy now seems to be that if there is any question of risk, shoot or choke first and ask questions later.

    To top it all off, the national anthem itself is the product of an American slaveholder who wrote the song in response to his regiment being routed by the British who had conscripted black men to fight against their slave holders. No irony to see here. We have a horrific past with black people in this country that persists until this day. The Trump presidency has shown that racism is far from dead and seems to be enjoying a bit of a comeback along with an ugly form of nationalism represented in this issue. Until we as a nation quit trying to pretend that racism is over or that it doesn’t exist in our society or social institutions, this festering will continue. It is not up to white people to say when racism is over, until a white person can truly walk in the shoes of a person of color.

  12. Aaron_of_Portsmouth September 28, 2017

    To accurately describe the segment of American society opposed to the protests by the NFL athletes and NBA players against racism and Trump, we would use the unwieldy phrase ” ‘Africans’ who migrated into what is now called EUROPE”. But for the sake of brevity, I’ll use the more common yet inaccurate terminology “white Americans”.
    This particularly segment, of whom certain elements feel as they do about the protests, have been acculturated over the centuries by false ideologies and philosophies, backed by quasi-science ruminations, that they are a separate and distinct group wholly apart from the black athletes and other members of the human family with shared phenotypes with these athletes.
    This inability to sympathize with protests of racism won’t be undone by criticism, of impassioned appeal to logic or by way of political solutions. Nor are the current status quo Religions capable of correcting such negative attitudes about dark-skinned humans because so much misinterpretations of metaphors and imagery presented in the Bible have led a vast number of Christians to interpret skin color as some outcome of a curse, which is referred to in Biblical literature as “The Curse of Ham”.

    Since science has advanced to the point of confirming our common ancestry and biological oneness, per genomics, population genetics, and other molecular biology disciplines, science is now able to be in sync with what all the Messengers of the past have stated re: our commonality, albeit in allusions and with metaphors not readily apparent. Which is why Baha’u’llah has been tasked with addressing the issue of race, of racial divisiveness, among so many other issues confronting the world—issues which were of no importance, e,g., Race and Racial harmony, for human society in previous eons.

    The only way “white Americans”, and the bulk of Eurasians, Australians, and other societies that insist on dividing humanity according to lineage and phenotype, is by getting acquainted with, and immersing ourselves in, the “Ocean of the Revelation of Baha’u’llah”. Then, and only then, will the current row over Race Identity be dispelled as a myth unworthy of being countenanced, will White Nationalism be exposed as a childish fantasy derived from infantile minds who worship the color of skin like it’s some spiritual attribute, and change the minds of policy-makers and leaders of thought who insist on creating a society that treats humans differently according to skin color and facial features.

  13. Thomas Martin September 28, 2017

    I was not asked to weigh in on any survey. As an old white guy, I support the effort made by our athletes or anyone else to peacefully protest. Honestly, many whites I know are racist and always have been. I frankly don’t give a damn how much money or lack thereof that people make who protest. Everyone has their constitutional rights. I welcome peaceful protest.

  14. Mary DeVaughn September 28, 2017

    “Black people should protest peacefully.”
    (Black person kneels peacefully during national anthem)
    “Not like THAT!”

    1. ivory69690@yahoo.com September 29, 2017

      you said black people should protest peacefully . what the same form and frame of peace the neo Nazi white supremacist did and do ?

  15. Mary DeVaughn September 28, 2017

    Also….”Whites” are not monolithic!

    1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth September 29, 2017

      Nor are blacks—a long-held perception held by many “whites” since the Age of Discovery dating back to the 1500’s.

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