Hand Over Heart
San Francisco 49er QB Colin Kaepernick refuses to stand for the national anthem, protesting state violence against people of color. I wrote about something similar in AMERICAN FAN. As social events unfold, expect to see more of this.
"During the 1995-96 NBA season, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf (slave name: Chris Jackson) led the Denver Nuggets in scoring and was regarded as one of the better point guards in the league. As the season progressed, members of the press noticed that he was absent during the national anthem. Abdul-Rauf, whose name means 'Elegant and Praiseworthy, Servant of the Most Kind,' felt it was his Muslim duty to not honor a symbol of, in his words, 'oppression and tyranny.' He would either come late to the court or sit on the bench until the song's end. He did this quietly, made no proclamations.
"He didn't need to: the press was happy to shatter his silence.
"The NBA placed Abdul-Rauf on indefinite suspension. He was not allowed to return until he praised Old Glory in full view of the league and its paying customers. Abdul-Rauf held out for three days, missed one game, then finally acquiesced.
"But the real patriotic fun took place on March 15, 1996, the night he returned to his team. The Nuggets were in Chicago to play the Bulls. With the opening notes of the anthem, the fan barrage began. An oversized American flag was held just to Abdul-Rauf's left; placards were waved, insults shouted. It was a lesson in mob behavior hopefully absorbed by the children present. What better way to honor freedom than to harass someone who has a minority opinion and no power to enforce it?"