Johnathon Short and Timothy Jones have a lot in common.
Both are from Chicago’s South Side.
Both consider themselves men of God.
Short is a deacon and Jones a pastor at the same Baptist church.
But in the ongoing debate over whether NFL football players should stand for the National Anthem, that’s where they differ.
For Short, he believes players should not be forced to stand.
“We should be allowed to do as we please simply because America is the land of free and stands strong with independence and choices. The universal law is to stand for the flag and honor America but it isn’t a written law. This isn’t enforced with punishments or fines we pay if we don’t,” Short says. “Soldiers fight for our independence, our freedom, the ability to have choices to articulate for ourselves and live based on our beliefs.”
But Jones feels the complete opposite.
“I believe that we should stand for the National Anthem no matter what the circumstance is or how we feel based on the bias and treatment of African Americans,” Jones says.
But the differing in opinions by the pastors shows that while America as whole is divided on the issue started by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, so are African-Americans.
In a poll conducted by CNN, more than 49 percent say protesting players are wrong to express their political opinion when kneeling during the National Anthem. In the same poll, 43 percent say it’s the correct thing.
The poll, however, shows a divide by race, political affiliation and age.
Nearly 60 percent of whites say players are in the wrong.
Meanwhile, the poll states 82 percent of African-Americans say it’s the right thing to do.
Even though Jones’ stance is in the minority among African-Americans, he doesn’t back down.
“Being black and already having a stereotype imprinted on us, we should do everything we can to stay out of the spotlight and not cause more uprising on how people across the nation perceive blacks,” Jones says.
But what does Jones say to those African-Americans who feel the system treats them poorly and use that as a basis for kneeling for the National Anthem.
“We should have an awareness for black inequality and fair treatment but simply not standing for the flag is showing ignorance and the not knowing the history behind the flag. It’s not the flag saying these outrages slurs about blacks. It’s not the flag killing blacks or wrongfully locking away innocent blacks. It’s not the flag being racist or showing prejudice against the blacks,” Jones says. “It’s simply ignorant whites and people with lack of intelligence.”
The National Anthem issue remains a major point and isn’t likely to go away anytime soon. That’s because the NFL continues to keep it an issue. In late October, Bob McNair, the white owner of the Houston Texans, referred to his players as inmates. It caused several members of the Texans to kneel for the National Anthem in their next game and served to fan of the flames of this controversy.
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