NFL national anthem protests are teaching our children to NOT be thankful for America

The continuing protests by multimillionaire NFL players who refuse to stand for our national anthem – disrespecting our flag and the brave patriots in our armed forces – are setting a terrible example for America’s children as Thanksgiving approaches.

The message?  Don't be thankful for the many blessings America has given you. Instead, act ungratefully, disrespectfully and unpatriotically

And sadly, some children are now following that example.

To cite just a few examples of protests around the country:

Four high school football players from Michigan were benched when they said they planned a kneeling protest. In Texas, two high school players were kicked off their team after protesting during the anthem. Good decisions in both cases.

And football players on a team made up of boys 8 and younger were joined by their coach in kneeling during the playing of our anthem in Illinois, after the coach told them about the protests started by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Unbelievably, the coach said: “I felt like it was a good teaching moment for me.”

Teaching what? Hatred of America?

Schools are hyper-vigilant nowadays about not tolerating student expressions that might offend anyone. For example, a school in Texas shut down a voluntary Bible discussion during the lunch hour. God – oops, pardon that expression – forbid that any atheist child should be offended. 

If students banded together in a planned show of disrespect for a rainbow flag – the symbol of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender pride – you’d better believe they’d be punished for intolerance.

And if students held a protest objecting to radical political Islam, there’s no doubt they’d be disciplined for bigotry. The same would happen if students denounced and disrespected any country on Earth – with one exception.

When student football players disrespect America, our anthem and our flag, what happens? They get applauded by the left. That’s because the left hugs First Amendment language like an endangered tree when it comes to disrespecting the American flag and our anthem.

In 2010 the Department of Justice began studying bullying in school based upon “national origin” and other differences. That’s no surprise. There’s been a federally recognized prohibition against discriminating against national origin since the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

The federal government’s website dedicated to eradicating direct and indirect bullying noted this example of prohibited conduct from North Carolina: "Bullying or harassing behavior includes … acts ... motivated by any actual or perceived differentiating characteristic, such as race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin.”

Bullying of this kind is frequent. A New York survey this year of middle and high school students showed that 65 percent of respondents said bullying occurred because of “race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, or citizenship/immigration status.”

So what does the federal government do with a local bullying incident in the United States? The Justice Department, explaining on its website about an LGBT student it helped, said it intervenes:

“The School District knew of the harassment ... neither fully investigated the allegations, nor followed its anti-harassment policies and procedures. The failure to address and prevent this kind of bullying from occurring violates Title IX of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”

Let’s examine how a recent real-life incident of anthem kneeling could still play out.

On Sept. 28, football players at Monroe Township High School in New Jersey knelt during the national anthem. Two referees walked off in protest, leaving the legitimacy of the game in doubt. Only the refs were punished, being suspended for the rest of the season.

Monroe has a bullying policy. In pertinent part it defines and prohibits as follows:

“Harassment, intimidation, or bullying means any gesture ...  motivated by either any actual or perceived characteristic, such as race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression; that ... has the effect of insulting or demeaning any student or group of students.”

What should happen next is that a parent of any American student insulted by the disrespect for America should demand that the school enforce Monroe’s bullying policy and discipline the kneelers.

If the school doesn’t act, the parent has a private right of action to sue the school under Title IX. The parent can have the Justice Department intervene to enforce their child’s rights.

Normally I don’t encourage making a federal case out of school disciplinary matters, but if the left keeps jumping us with culture rumbles, we have to take their own weapons to use on them.

Tommy De Seno is an attorney in New Jersey and contributor to Ricochet.com.