Athletes Kneeling During the National Anthem Controversy
Dr. Richard Robitaille, Program Manager of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and Idell Robinson, Trustee at Newark Bronze Shields, discuss the ongoing controversy with athletes kneeling during the National Anthem.
"We are pleased to welcome, once again, Dr. Richard Robitaille, Program Manager, US Military Academy at West Point, served 28 years in the Army, Idell Robinson, trustee of the Newark Bronze Shields, served eight years with the Marines, been a police officer for fifteen. I want to thank you gentlemen for joining us. We're here to talk about... Thank you. ...an issue that's been talked about all across this country, distorted by some, confused by others, but people talk about it. It is the decision made by a whole range of athletes, particularly in the NFL, but in other places as well, to not stand during the national anthem, you see it how Rich? Well I see it... as a military veteran, I see it as extremely disrespectful to those who've served, to our country, to those who've lost those in battle. That flag represents everything we fought for, everything we served. When a soldier falls in battle, the first thing that happens to them is their coffin is covered in an American flag, and the very last thing the military does when they bury a soldier is they walk up and they give a flag to the family of the fallen. And they say, "In appreciation of their service." So that flag represents everything they fought for in terms of... and everything they gave in terms of their own life. You see it as disrespectful? I see it as disrespectful. Do you see it? No I don't. I don't see it as disrespectful, only because the fact that it's not about the flag, it's about the injustices that have faced the African-American community, and the brown community. I too respect that flag. Do you stand? Do I stand? Yes I do. But you respect the right of others to not stand? Absolutely. I also serve on what we call the Honor Guard. Hmm. So I too have had the unfortunate pleasure of carrying those to their last and final resting place, and presenting that same flag to people who are in bereavement because of the sacrifices that the men and women have offered and gave. We go by our motto that "All gave some, but some gave it all". Can you understand some saying, Rich, "That is what makes our country..." respectfully, I happen to stand as well, but there are many who would argue that is what makes our country great is the right not to stand? Well I believe in freedom of speech just like anybody else. Is that a peaceful form of free speech? Well not in this particular case, especially with the NFL players. That's not peaceful? You know the First Amendment protects citizens against the government infringing on their..."