Sportscaster Bob Costas appeared on CNN over the weekend to talk about NFL musicians kneeling during the national hymn — and supported its significant position on patriotism while he was at it.
It’s been more than a year since former San Francisco 49 ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick quietly sat out the national chant before a pre-season game to objection police savagery in America. On Sunday, dozens of players around the tournament followed in his paces after President Donald Trump required musicians stand during the anthem.
In a brilliant segment on CNN, Costas contextualized the asserts, expecting us all to take a step back and expect ourselves a few fundamental questions about what it means to be a patriot.
How did we get to this home where professional boasts have become so linked to patriotism and the military, anyway?
“Patriotism and the flag ought to have conflated, ” Costas explained.
“If you go to see ‘Hamilton, ‘ which is about the founding of the republic , no one says, ‘Wait a minute! Don’t raise the curtain until we listen the national anthem.’ When you went to see ‘[ Saving] Private Ryan, ‘ no one said, ‘Turn off the projector until we’ve had the national hymn, ‘” Costas said. “It’s in boasts where this stuff happens — sometimes movingly, sometimes, I’d submit, cynically.”
The story of how boasts became synonymous with patriotism has roots in wartime support for soldiers but also in “paid patriotism.” A 2015 report commissioned by the offices of Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake( both R-Arizona) found that the Department of Defense had spent billions of dollars in recent years pro boasts tournaments to hold “patriotic” happenings. Until 2009, NFL players weren’t even required to be on the sidelines during the course of its anthem, much less digest at notice as it played.
As Costas suggested, if patriotism merely entails showing dazzle fealty to the flag and military, that’s easy. Much most difficult is recognizing that patriotism can take many other forms.
“Because wrapping yourself in the flag and honoring the military is something which nobody is going to object to, ” he said. “We all respect their relinquish. We all honor their relinquish, and yet what it has come to mean, is that the flag is mainly and exclusively about the military.”
Patriotism can be expressed in a lot of different ways, Costas emphasized — and those different forms of patriotism don’t ever relate to the flag or the military forces.
“Martin Luther King was a patriot, Susan B. Anthony was a patriot, heretics are patriots, school teachers and social workers are patriots, ” he explained.
Back in 2016, after Kaepernick first sat out the chant( he sat for one game but switched to taking a knee as a style to show respect for the flag and the military forces, as ironic in the present context as it may be ), he explained why “hes been” asserting. His explain fits perfectly with Costas’s definition of patriotism.
“When there’s significant change and I feel like that pennant represents what it’s supposed to represent, home countries is representing people the path that it’s supposed to do now, I’ll stand, ” Kaepernick said at the time. “There’s a lot of things that need to change. One specifically? Police brutality. There’s people being slaughtered unjustly and not being held accountable. People are being given paid leave for killing people. That’s absolutely no truth to the rumors. That’s not right by anyone’s standards.”
Those are the patriots we need in this country , now now more than ever. The ones unwilling to simply accept the status quo, but to fight for American ideals.