Chargers' Russell Okung raises fist during national anthem

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Oct 15, 2003
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Chargers tackle Russell Okung stood with his fist raised during the national anthem Saturday ahead of the Chargers-Cardinals game at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Okung, one of the leaders pushing for social change among NFL players, raised his fist while remaining standing during the national anthem last season to protest social injustices and police brutality.

Okung wrote an open letter last fall calling for NFL players to be more organized in their protests and lamenting the warping of their protests' original intention.

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Aug 20, 2004
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I do not understand the backlash against what amounts to a peaceful protest. I don't agree with the protests, but there is a lot of bs rhetoric that does nothing but distract from the point.

From what I understand, the point is and has to do with police violence against minorities. I think ignoring that conversation in favor of a questioning everyone's patriotism is a lost opportunity. This country is incapable these days of a civil discussion without insane amounts of bomb throwing and incendiary accusations. We have to learn to engage again. I'm not pretending we were ever fantastic at that, but there can be ground covered, IMHO, but someone finally engaging honestly.

I know there are stats that refute the police violence issues. If memory serves, I am more likely to be shot by the cops than a minority, but I also remember those numbers reflected a greater amount of violence being used against minorities even if nonfatal.

Is there a problem with police? Are they too militarized? I just wonder at what point we get sick of babble and try to deal with problems honestly.
 
Feb 7, 2007
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I imagine most of the players engaged in this protest are well meaning, while others I truly believe are simply attention whores (like Kaepernick). I really don't care anymore......if the media would stop covering it, then it would go away, but that's not what the media wants. I thought this issue was behind us but of course, the NFL and Trump had to double down leading up to this season with new rules and of course the players protesting are going to double down as well because of it. It's a game of chicken and the only losers are the NFL and the players themselves as people find something else to watch.

The sad things is that the reasons for these protests seem to have a mountain of evidence saying they are nowhere near as bad as the people engaged in these protests seem to think they are so how can we have a conversation about it. The sky is blue. No it's not. Yes it is. No it's not. etc.
 
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Oct 15, 2003
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Its funny how topics like these bring out the authoritarian types. So tell me, should raising a fist be banned too?
now you're admitting to being an authoritarian type too? my, my, my.

tell me oh wise one... if your employer says that crapping in the elevator is banned, should taking a pee in the elevator be banned too?

good lord, this has nothing to do with "banning" anything - it's an employee/employer situation.

good gosh - if your employer says you must take a vacation day to march in a protest, then don't stage a sit-in in front of the CEO's office.

This stuff is not really that hard to grasp.
 
Mar 11, 2006
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Its funny how topics like these bring out the authoritarian types. So tell me, should raising a fist be banned too?
I definitely don’t think it should be banned. But just as I would never disrupt a funeral or a religious service... making a spectacle of yourself during a solemn activity is disrespectful.
Our anthem is a unifying time for all Americans. Not a time to separate yourself.

I would think those who want to protest would choose a forum that helps their cause or invites others to agree with their point of view. Anthem protesting is like protests blocking traffic. Almost everyone thinks it is wrong and whatever you are attempting to protest gets lost due to the poor forum choice.
 

okstate987

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#11
I definitely don’t think it should be banned. But just as I would never disrupt a funeral or a religious service... making a spectacle of yourself during a solemn activity is disrespectful.
Our anthem is a unifying time for all Americans. Not a time to separate yourself.

I would think those who want to protest would choose a forum that helps their cause or invites others to agree with their point of view. Anthem protesting is like protests blocking traffic. Almost everyone thinks it is wrong and whatever you are attempting to protest gets lost due to the poor forum choice.
Kneeling is not a disrespectful action. In virtually every culture, kneeling is a sign of respect. The fact that so many people are angry about this particular form of protest and claim that it is disruptive is laughable. It is completely silent and involves a gesture of respect, just not the one that has been traditionally used. There is no shouting, signing of alternate words/verses (even the sooners do this shit) or obscene gestures, it is completely silent. There is no tangible disruption, it only exists in certain folks minds.

The fact that such a classy form of protest has come under this amount of fire says much more about those it upsets than anything else. Either way, I am glad you don't think it should be banned.
 
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okstate987

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now you're admitting to being an authoritarian type too? my, my, my.

tell me oh wise one... if your employer says that crapping in the elevator is banned, should taking a pee in the elevator be banned too?

good lord, this has nothing to do with "banning" anything - it's an employee/employer situation.

good gosh - if your employer says you must take a vacation day to march in a protest, then don't stage a sit-in in front of the CEO's office.

This stuff is not really that hard to grasp.
Therein lies the issue. The NFL is not your run of the mill company, and it does not operate as such. It is one of the most subsidized entities in the US. I love NFL football, but if a supposed "non-profit" bans freedom of expression in a public forum that is a first amendment problem, and is an authoritarian move. Since you seem to support it and a large number of other "conservative" big government moves, I think the label suits you well.

On a side note, I think raising the fist during the anthem is a shrewd move. It puts pressure on the NFL as forcing players to stand in one or two particular way would be a weak position in court of the NFLPA decided to bring it there.
 
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Mar 11, 2006
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Kneeling is not a disrespectful action. In virtually every culture, kneeling is a sign of respect. The fact that so many people are angry about this particular form of protest and claim that it is disruptive is laughable. It is completely silent and involves a gesture of respect, just not the one that has been traditionally used. There is no shouting, signing of alternate words/verses or obscene gestures, it is completely silent. There is no tangible disruption, it only exists in certain folks minds.

The fact that such a classy form of protest has come under this amount of fire says much more about those it upsets than anything else. Either way, I am glad you don't think it should be banned.
So they are now kneeling because they respect the flag? Really? That’s rich.

So Kaepernick’s socks depicting police as pigs was actually an incredible show of gratitude? And Michael Bennett flipping off the police was actually the best way to give them as sign that they are number one?

It took a lot of mental gymnastics to flip and make a disrespectful act somehow a sign of respect.
 

okstate987

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So they are now kneeling because they respect the flag? Really? That’s rich.

So Kaepernick’s socks depicting police as pigs was actually an incredible show of gratitude? And Michael Bennett flipping off the police was actually the best way to give them as sign that they are number one?

It took a lot of mental gymnastics to flip and make a disrespectful act somehow a sign of respect.
Thanks for 2 red herrings and for supporting my point. There is nothing inherently disrespectful about kneeling, in fact, the very definition for kneeling states: "be in or assume a position in which the body is supported by a knee or the knees, as when praying or showing submission". Do you or others kneel in church or in prayer to disrespect or show defiance to God? No, the very opposite. The fact is: kneeling is an ancient gesture of respect, and only recently has anyone started taking issue with it. That my friend is the mental gymnastics going on.

Your examples of blatant disrespect with the pig socks and middle finger are completely separate actions, and are the exception, not the rule for those who have participated. Over 200 players have protested in this manner, and Okung in particular has been a class act both for OSU and in the NFL.