After Donald Trump made his ridiculous speech denigrating those who kneel in protest during The National Anthem, the entire NFL came together. As a means of exercising their First Amendment rights and protesting racism and abuse from police officers, these teams have stood together to answer Trump. They stand for something. He, apparently, does not.

Speaking out against a racist National Anthem, and for liberty, equality, and justice

Sunday, for the first time in a very long time, I saw nearly the entire NFL stand and deliver, or kneel, as the case may be, for the First Amendment, and liberty and justice for all.

Rather than kneel or remain seated in protest, none of the Tennessee Titans or Seattle Seahawks left their locker room for the playing of The National Anthem. All but one player on the Pittsburgh Steelers roster refused to take the field.

Even in London, where the Baltimore Ravens played and subsequently lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars(44-7), their owner, Shad Kahn, locked arms with Mercedes Lewis and Telvin Smith on the sideline. The Ravens linked arms on the sideline as well. Terrell Suggs, Mike Wallace, and Lardarius Webb went as far as to take a knee during the Anthem. Players kneeled for The National Anthem and stood for the singing of the British Anthem, “God save the Queen.”

Now I’m just a writer, and I’m not a religious person, but it seems to me that a more effective justification for taking a knee instead of standing for The National Anthem, would be in solidarity and prayer for those who have lost their lives.

Not just fighting for our country, but many as a result of this ongoing problem of impulsivity, aggression, racism and/or racial profiling from our police forces. It is in protest for what the flag is actually supposed to represent; liberty, equality, and justice. It might be prudent at this point in time to really look at what we are being required to stand for.

The Star-Spangled Banner of Bigotry and it’s racist author Francis Scott Key

It is important, I think, to note that The Star-Spangled Banner is one of the most racist songs ever written. More important? Most people in this country have no idea of its racist origins. The story that we are told of in history class is that there was a prisoner on a British ship of the name, Francis Scott Key, who, watching the American Colonial troops battle the British, wrote a poem about what he saw.

But who was Key?

Francis Scott Key was an aristocrat and a prosecutor in Washington DC. He was known to support slavery and advocated for sending free blacks back to Africa. He owned slaves and opposed the abolition of slavery. Suffice it to say that the man who wrote The Star-Spangled Banner was racist by definition. But let’s talk about the poem.

The section of which I speak is an obscure verse not many even knew about until very recently. It follows;

“Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.

No refuge could save the hireling and slave

From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,”

In translation, it is saying that the blood of slaves and menial laborers washed away the stench that the British left behind.

At this point, recall that Francis Scott Key was imprisoned on this ship, where the poem was written, shortly after being beaten and embarrassed by black Colonial soldiers. The poem was written by someone who had anger in his heart against black people.

And so I do not believe the point of kneeling is a snub in the nose of America or patriotism. It is a cry out against racial inequity and the continued manifestation of the sentiment the anthem clearly represents. It’s a very loud and distinct statement against white-nationalism, racism and, at this point in the game, Donald Trump.