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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

REspect thy Nation ! ~ singing National anthem !!

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s much-anticipated NFL workout was all but scuttled Saturday when he made a last-minute venue change, and the league responded that he was a no-show. The 32-year-old free agent said in a statement that the venue was changed to allow the media to attend after the NFL had planned a private workout at the Atlanta Falcons training center in Flowery Branch. Kaepernick finished his workout, then met with fans who lined the field after the 40-minute session. Sources for the athlete said representatives from at least seven NFL teams attended the showcase.  Curious to know Colin Kaepernick – who ? and why should his workout create news ?
Indian Cricket team singing National anthem

"The Star-Spangled Banner" is the national anthem of the United States. The lyrics come from the Defence of Fort M'Henry, a poem written on Sept 14, 1814, by the then 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 Harbour during the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812. Key was inspired by the large U.S. flag, with 15 stars and 15 stripes, known as the Star-Spangled Banner, flying triumphantly above the fort during the U.S. victory.

The poem was set to the tune of a popular British song written by John Stafford Smith for the Anacreontic Society, a men's social club in London. "To Anacreon in Heaven" (or "The Anacreontic Song"), with various lyrics, was already popular in the United States. This setting, renamed "The Star-Spangled Banner", soon became a well-known U.S. patriotic song. Although the poem has four stanzas, only the first is commonly sung today.  "The Star-Spangled Banner" was recognized for official use by the United States Navy in 1889, and by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson in 1916, and was made the national anthem by a congressional resolution on March 3, 1931 (46 Stat. 1508, codified at 36 U.S.C. § 301), which was signed by President Herbert Hoover.

Last year, a Nike advert starring Colin Kaepernick  won the award for outstanding commercial at the Creative Arts Emmys. Nike released the advert, titled Dream Crazy, in September last year. It featured the former NFL quarterback and the slogan: “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything. Just do it.”   Nike stock climbed higher Friday after news that the company blew through expectations for second-quarter sales, validating the company's controversial Colin Kaepernick ad campaign that was released during that period. The sportswear giant revealed its "Just Do It" anniversary campaign during its second quarter, which ended on Nov. 30. The campaign starred former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and quickly sparked some  praise and more calls for a boycott. Sales rose, however, with the company reporting a 10 percent jump in income to $847 million, driven primarily by strong revenue growth.  Controversy often pays !!

In 2016, Kaepernick started to kneel for the pre-game national anthem in protest at racial injustice in the United States. He has been out of the NFL since leaving the San Francisco 49ers in 2017, and he later settled a case with the league in which he alleged he had been blackballed by team owners for his protests. Donald Trump was among those who attacked the advert at the time of its release. “I think it’s a terrible message that [Nike] are sending and the purpose of them doing it, maybe there’s a reason for them doing it,” the President told the Daily Caller. Videos were also uploaded to social media of people burning their Nike products.

Colin Rand Kaepernick  is an American football quarterback who is currently a free agent. He played six seasons for the San Francisco 49ers in the National Football League (NFL).  Playing at college level, he  became the only player in NCAA Division I FBS history to amass 10,000 passing yards and 4,000 rushing yards in a career. After graduating, he was selected by the 49ers in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft. Kaepernick began his professional football career as a backup quarterback to Alex Smith, and became the 49ers' starter.  

In the 49ers' third preseason game in 2016, Kaepernick sat during the playing of the U.S. national anthem prior to the game, rather than stand as is customary, as a protest against racial injustice and systematic oppression in the country. The following week, and throughout the regular season, Kaepernick kneeled during the anthem. The protests received highly polarized reactions, with some praising him and his stand against racism and others denouncing the protests as disrespectful to the armed forces. The actions resulted in a wider protest movement, which intensified in September 2017 after President Donald Trump said that NFL owners should "fire" players who protest the national anthem.  Kaepernick became a free agent after the season, but went unsigned.

In Oct 2017,  Kaepernick filed a grievance against NFL owners for collusion. The filing stated that the NFL and its owners "have colluded to deprive Mr. Kaepernick of employment rights in retaliation for Mr. Kaepernick's leadership and advocacy for equality and social justice and his bringing awareness to peculiar institutions still undermining racial equality in the United States."

As he went unsigned   through the off-season and 2017 training camps, leading to allegations that he was being blackballed because of his on-field political statements as opposed to his performance. The Seattle Seahawks brought Kaepernick in for a visit in May 2017, but did not work him out or offer a contract. In Feb 2019, it was announced that Kaepernick reached a confidential settlement with the NFL and withdrew the grievance. Kaepernick had not had an NFL tryout since becoming a free agent in 2017.  On Nov 12, 2019, the NFL set up a workout for him in Atlanta on Saturday, Nov 16. All 32 NFL teams were invited to attend the private session, which was to be closed to the media. It was to include an on-field workout and an interview, with videos of both to be sent to teams afterward.  Just about half an hour before the workout, Kaepernick nixed the plans over concerns about the workout not being public and issues with the liability waiver the NFL asked him to sign. He instead moved to an Atlanta-area high school, where he held a public throwing session attended by scouts from seven NFL teams.

In the Nation, widely there were feelings that refusing to stand for the national anthem shows disrespect for the flag and members of the armed forces. The national anthem pays respect to the people who have risked their lives, been injured, or died defending the United States. Carole Isham, a great-great-great-granddaughter of the writer of the national anthem (Francis Scott Key) stated that "it just blows my mind that somebody like (Kaepernick) would do what he does to dishonor the flag of this country and the national anthem when we have young men and women overseas fighting for this country, people that have died for this country."  Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints quarterback, supported Kaepernick's message but disagreed with the delivery: "[I]t's an oxymoron that you're sitting down, disrespecting that flag that has given you the freedom to speak out."

Earlier in May 2018, NFL announced that all 32 team owners agreed that all players and staff on the field shall "stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem" or face "appropriate discipline." However, all players will no longer be required to be on the field during the anthem and may wait off field or in the locker room.

Respect thy Nation !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
20th Nov. 2019

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