There's a story going around that Dion Waiters, shooting guard for the Cleveland Cavaliers, declared that he isn't standing for the National Anthem anymore, because of his religious beliefs. He's a Muslim, and as we all know, Muslims hate America. Well, we would all know that if we all did the right thing and watched Fox News.
And as you'd expect, there's a whole lot of people mad at him, because reacting without knowing reasons is so commonplace in America that you'd think it was in the Constitution. To let the folks I saw online tell it, we should all be offended that he hates America so much, and that he should go play in the Middle East if he loves Islam so much. Only the most measured and reasonable responses go on the internet. It's not like he'd stand for the National Anthem over there, either.
Now, as an old man, it isn't the first time I've seen this. I remember when Chris Jackson, later known as Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, of the Denver Nuggets (and hated Gulfport High School), did the same thing back in 1996, for the same reasons. He eventually decided to stand and pray, as a way to, um...what's the word that means "meeting in the middle?" Compromise. You'll have to excuse me for forgetting the word, but it never happens in our culture anymore, so I haven't needed to remember it.
But in the meantime, people went crazy, just like they're on the verge of doing now. Insults, death threats, the whole nine. And over the stupidest of reasons: Over a song written by a slave owner who ironically didn't want his own freedom restricted. And for a song about freedom, people out here sure are hell-bent on Dion Waiters not keeping his.
After all, it isn't a crime not to stand for the National Anthem. It's a nationalistic custom that became codified, but no one ever goes to jail for this, and people refuse to stand for the National Anthem all the time. Hell, I've personally refused to stand for the National Anthem before. And it's not like there aren't things happening in America that give people reasons to feel like America isn't with them. Dion Waiters is black and a Muslim. Buddy's got a list.
But he probably isn't doing it for those reasons, anyway (although he'd be justified). It isn't some political statement that he's making. Muslims simply believe (according to the Google research I did right before sliding into an endless vortex of Salon articles. There's one that explains why we have pubic hair. Pubic hair.) that they're not supposed to humble themselves or stand in veneration for anyone except Allah. There's a lot I don't agree with when it comes to Islam, but I have no problem with that. After all, they're trying to stay good with their omnipotent and eternal Creator, and you want to give them grief about a custom built up around a song written 200 years ago that'll probably be forgotten in another hundred. When it comes to historical importance (from their perspective), you might as well be mad at them for not wanting to do the Schmoney Dance.
And if you're a Christian (and most of you are claiming to be, because atheists really don't care that much), you probably should back up off all this anger, because your religion says something similar, all up in the Bible. Yeah, revering this flag and song is tantamount to idolatry. I'm an unrepentant heathen, and even I know that your God doesn't like that. Come on now, you know that dude is jealous and angry. You think he's gonna be reasonable about your nationalism? I guess you could throw Romans 13:1 at me (Google it, like I did), but again, there's no authority that says you have to stand for the flag. Just advisory rules that suggest how you observe the custom.
Really, none of this means anything at all, because while Dion Waiters didn't stand for the National Anthem in Utah on Wednesday (he was still in the locker room), he did stand for it Friday night in Denver. Waiters says that the story isn't true at all (might not even be a Muslim), and what's more likely is that he was pouting about being pulled from the starting lineup in Utah. Waiters has been talking shit about how he should start from the minute LeBron said he was coming back to Cleveland, so I'm sure he wasn't happy about coming off the bench. But I felt like I should address it, because I know how Americans like to overreact about meaningless things.
It's what I get for insisting on reading the comments. Never read the comments.