Luckily for the Baltimore Orioles and MLB, the league doesn’t appear to have the issue that the NFL currently has whereby players are protesting the national anthem. An I suspect that moving forward we won’t see anything like that in baseball. It’s too tied to the fabric of our country, and too synonymous with holidays such as Memorial Day and the 4th of July.
There are lots of people however calling for the NFL (and perhaps even MLB) to pass a rule saying that players and coaches have to stand for the national anthem. And I can’t say that I myself wouldn’t support that, because as an American I do resent the fact that any of my fellow countrymen could turn their backs on the liberties and freedoms that we’ve all been given. Those freedoms are symbolized in our flag and in our National Anthem.
However where’s the line exactly between freedom and tyranny? When the Collin Kaepernick argument was hot, there was an internet meme going around saying that forced patriotism existed across the globe…in countries like North Korea. And that in and of itself is something that should give Americans pause.
Would it in essence be tyrannical to force MLB players to stand for the national anthem? Mind you folks, we’re not talking about true tyranny in the sense of kneel down and kiss the king’s ring at a penalty of death. However as Americans we also believe in freedom of expression. So would forcing someone to stand when they may not want to do so be violating that freedom of expression?
It’s really a tough call. However there’s also a distinction that needs to be made. MLB and the NFL are private organizations – in essence, private companies. Your place of employment does have the right to regulate certain aspects of your life, like it or not. You can’t NOT wear a coat and tie to work if that’s required as part of the dress code and then claim it’s a violation of your freedom, as an example.
So if a league such as MLB identified that players sitting for the anthem would offend a large portion of it’s clientele (which it undoubtedly would), one could argue that they could and should make a rule against it. And while that’s kind of where I fall in this discussion, I’m also wary of the flip side of the coin. It does come off to me as an invasion of one’s freedoms in a sense – possibly.
However in closing, I would mention that at some point, we as a nation need to reclaim our very status as a nation. Since the end of WWII, anti-nationalism has taken hold in Europe. Now in no way am I suggesting that people should blindly follow everything their government does and says regardless of anything else. However at a certain point you have to have some sort of national pride – on a minimal level, respecting your nation’s flag and anthem. Otherwise you go from being a country to a group of people who share a geographic region.