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Thursday, March 1, 2018

kneeling protest to US National anthem ~ Pizza Papa John ends sponsorship of NFL

In many Sports, before the match starts, the National anthem is played and it gives one great sense of patriotism and happiness hearing the song ‘Jana gana mana’ – the great composition of Sri  Rabindranath Tagore, adopted by the Constituent Assembly as the National Anthem of India on 24 January 1950. It was first sung on 27 December 1911 at the Kolkata Session of the Indian National Congress.The complete song consists of five stanzas. The first stanza contains the full version of the National Anthem.Playing time of the full version of the national anthem is approximately 52 seconds. A short version consisting of the first and last lines of the stanza (playing time approximately 20 seconds) is also played on certain occasions.

Elsewhere, some U.S. professional athletes have silently protested police brutality and racial inequality during the playing of the U.S. national anthem.  The demonstrations have generated mixed reactions. To many - the protestsare  unpatriotic and disrespectful of the U.S. flag, the national anthem, the police, and the military.  The protests began in the National Football League (NFL) after San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sat and later kneeled during the anthem, as opposed to the tradition of standing, before his team's preseason games of 2016.  Throughout the 2016 season, members of various NFL and other sports teams have engaged in similar silent protests. On September 24, 2017, the NFL protests became more widespread when over 200 players sat or kneeled in response to Donald Trump's calling for owners to fire the protesting players.

Kaepernick’s protest first occurred 13 months ago, but was not immediately noticed. At that point, he simply sat on the benches during the US national anthem during a preseason game, just next to the giant Gatorade jugs next to him.But, he later transitioned to taking a knee in protest … ..  in Sept last,  NFL players staged an unprecedented wave of protest beginning at Wembley Stadium in London, as Donald Trump maintained his attack on players who kneel in protest against the national anthem.“If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend!” Trump wrote on Twitter. “NFL attendance and ratings are WAY DOWN. Boring games yes, but many stay away because they love our country. League should back US.”“This has nothing to do with race,” he added “I never said anything about race. This has nothing to do with race or anything else. This has to do with respect for our country and respect for our flag.”

Now comes a different angled news of Pizza company Papa John ending  its official sponsorship of the NFL three months after its CEO blamed sluggish sales on players kneeling during the national anthem.In November, John Schnatter said “NFL leadership has hurt Papa John’s shareholders” and that the protests aimed at racial injustice in the States “should have been nipped in the bud a year and a half ago.” The company later apologized after white supremacists praised Schnatter’s comments and said: “We believe in the right to protest inequality and support the players’ movement to create a new platform for change. We also believe, as Americans, we should honor our anthem.”

Schnatter, who was the face of the pizza chain and appeared in adverts alongside stars such as Peyton Manning, left his role in January. On Monday, Papa John’s and the NFL released a joint statement, saying the pizza company would continue relationships with individual teams.“The NFL and Papa John’s have made a mutual decision to shift from their official league sponsorship to a focus on partnerships with 22 local NFL teams, presence in broadcast and digital media, and key personalities in the sport,” read the statement.

Tailpiece 1 :"The Star-Spangled Banner" is the national anthem of the United States of America,  a poem written in  1814, by the 35-year-old lawyer and amateur poet Francis Scott Key after witnessing the bombardment of Fort McHenry by British ships of the Royal Navy in Baltimore Harbor during the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812.

Tailpiece 2 :a Sanskrit sloka uttered by Sri Rama Himself…“Janani Janma-bhoomi-schaSwargadapiGariyasi" ( जननीजन्मभूमिश्चस्वर्गादपिगरीयसी)  ~ it translates to mean “Mother and Motherland are superior to Heaven”..

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
1st Mar 2018.

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