"Please rise and remove your caps for the playing of our national anthem."
We hear this announcement, or one like it, before the start of nearly every sporting event. It's not a requirement, just a suggestion.
In the interest of full transparency, I didn't remove my cap last week before the Pioneers home football game against Cookeville. It wasn't an act of protest. Rather I was trying to stay dry in a driving rainstorm.
Last year, NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick decided to take a knee while our national anthem was played. It was an act of protest. He did this as a way to raise awareness about race relations and how America has a long journey ahead when it comes to equal opportunities for all. In the interviews I've seen, Kaepernick has been well-spoken on this topic.
For Kaepernick's peaceful and constitutionally appropriate protest, he's essentially been banned from the NFL. Despite having more talent than several starting QBs in the league, Kaepernick can't even land a backup job and is currently a free agent as the NFL season is under way.
The shame of it all is Kaepernick is in the right from every perspective. He's right in his assessment of equality in America and he's certainly well within his right to take a knee to show his discontent.
NFL teams, too, are within their rights not to employ Kaepernick and it's unfortunate they have taken that route. His message is one we should hear and work to remedy, not muffle as the NFL has done, especially with so much turmoil around every corner.
Seattle Seahawk defensive end Michael Bennett is the latest black man who says he was treated unfairly by police. According to Bennett, and he has video footage to support his claim, he was held at gunpoint and detained by Las Vegas police after the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight.
The sound of apparent gunshots caused people to flee the area and Bennett was determined to be a suspect in the incident.
Wrote Bennett, "Las Vegas officers singled me out and pointed their guns at me for doing nothing more than simply being a black man in the wrong place at the wrong time."
Las Vegas Police Department has rejected Bennett's claim and maintains he was acting suspiciously. According to police, Bennett was crouched behind a gaming machine and ran out the door and into traffic when they approached.
Professional athletes are in a unique position, unlike few others, to have their voices heard. They have a microphone stuck in their face after every game, especially if they're a star, because people want to hear what they have to say.
In the case of Kaepernick, he's taken aim and touched one of the underlying problems in all society. NFL executives are more than happy to make millions from the play of minority athletes on their rosters. Too bad they don't care more about their plight.
Standard editor James Clark can be reached at 473-2191.