Sportscaster Bob Costas appeared on CNN over the weekend to talk about NFL participates kneeling during the national hymn — and supplied an important perspective on patriotism while he was at it.
It’s been more than a year since onetime San Francisco 49 ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick quietly sat out “the member states national” psalm before a pre-season activity to dissent police cruelty in America. On Sunday, dozens of actors around the tournament are still in his footsteps after President Donald Trump challenged players sit during the anthem.
In a luminous segment on CNN, Costas contextualized the demonstrates, requesting us all to take a step back and invite ourselves a few fundamental questions about what it means to be a patriot.
How did we get to this sit where professional athletics have become so links between patriotism and the military forces, regardless?
“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 time! Don’t raise the curtain until we sounds “the member states national” anthem.’ When you went to see ‘[ Saving] Private Ryan, ‘ no one said, ‘Turn off the projector until we’ve had “the member states national” carol, ‘” Costas said. “It’s in sports where this substance happens — sometimes movingly, sometimes, I’d submit, cynically.”
The story of how plays became synonymous with patriotism has roots in wartime support for soldiers but also in “paid patriotism.” A 2015 report commissioned including the office of Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake( both R-Arizona) found that the Department of Defense had spent billions of dollars in recent years compensating pro sports conferences to hold “patriotic” events. Until 2009, NFL musicians weren’t even required to be on the sidelines during the course of its anthem, much less wash at attending as it played.
As Costas suggested, if patriotism simply necessitates presenting 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 reputation the military forces is something which nobody is going to object to, ” he said. “We all respect their sacrifice. We all reputation their sacrifice, and hitherto what it has come to mean, is that the flag is primarily and merely about the military.”
Patriotism can be expressed in a lot of different ways, Costas emphasized — and those forms of patriotism don’t always relate to the flag or the military forces.
“Martin Luther King was a patriot, Susan B. Anthony was a patriot, rebels are patriots, school teachers and social workers are patriots, ” he explained.
Back in 2016, after Kaepernick first sat out the carol( he sat for one recreation but switched to taking a knee as a method to show respect for the flag and the military forces, as ironic in the present context as it may be ), he explained why he was demonstrating. His rationale fits perfectly with Costas’s definition of patriotism.
“When there’s significant change and I feel like that signal represents what it’s supposed to represent, this country is representing people the style that it’s supposed to, I’ll stand, ” Kaepernick said at the time. “There’s a lot of things that need to change. One precisely? Police brutality. There’s beings being assassinated unjustly and not being held accountable. Beings are being given paid leave for killing people. That’s not right. That’s absolutely no truth to the rumors 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.