Q&A – The NFL, US Flag Code & George Floyd Protests

Today’s entry: People are missing the point about the difference between taking a knee during protests as opposed to protesting the flag during the national anthem. They aren’t the same thing and anyone who is properly informed would know this. Radicals are taking the opportunity to mainstream their agenda and no one seems like they’re willing to stand up and inform people on this issue. I’m hoping you’ll address it.

Bottom Line: The quick crucifying of Drew Brees’s public image after originally saying he still wouldn’t be supportive of kneeling and protesting during the national anthem opened the flood gates on this issue. From Roger Goodell’s mea culpa dating back to Colin Kaepernick's protests to the conflating of law enforcement taking a knee in support with protesters. You're right that the premise of this discussion is lost. At the expense of sounding like a broken record, the failure of our education establishment rears its head again with this one. 

Last week, I discussed why and how many of the protests, even the peaceful ones, are illegal and shouldn’t be lauded by public officials unless they’re held lawfully. If you missed that discussion, no one may use their constitutional rights to deny others their constitutional rights. Protests which prevent transportation shut down businesses and infringe on the rights of others are themselves unlawful unless proper permitting with local officials has taken place. The ignorance of that issue is related to this topic as well. 

There is a vast difference between kneeling in protest during a sanctioned protest and kneeling during the presentation of the American Flag. Under Title 4, Chapter 1, Section 8 you have the U.S. Flag Code. It includes this guidance:

No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America; the flag should not be dipped to any person or thing. Regimental colors, State flags, and organization or institutional flags are to be dipped as a mark of honor.


No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations. The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.

During the ceremony of hoisting or lowering the flag or when the flag is passing in a parade or in review, all persons present in uniform should render the military salute. Members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute. All other persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, or if applicable, remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. 

Whether Drew Brees knew the flag code or not, he was right. The flag does represent something as outlined in the Code, and all Americans are to adhere to code to honor it when presented. Kneeling at a protest in support of reform is appropriate. Kneeling in protest when the flag is presented isn’t. The US Flag Code is a law and there is crystal clarity on this issue. What’s happening in society relative to this issue is simply another example of the dearth of civics education in this country. I’m thankful that as part of the reformation in Florida’s education curriculum, civics education plays a prominent role. It’s desperately needed. Here’s the absurdity of the moment. We’ve been told that adhering to the law is “tone deaf”, President Trump is out of line for calling for people to respect the law and countless public figures have gone out of their way to demonstrate support for the breaking of the law. To your point about this being part of a radical agenda. I’d say in the context you’re right. On this issue at a minimum, right is now wrong, and it's been mainstreamed.

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Photo by: Getty Images

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