A Fox News op-ed published this week argued that Martin Luther King Jr. Day is the wrong time for NFL players to protest systemic racism by taking a knee during the national anthem.
In his op-ed, writer Jeremy Hunt argues that the media has seized upon the holiday "as yet another opportunity to further sow the division and partisan polarization already plaguing our country."
The New Yorker magazine decided to use Dr. King to touch on the continuing raw nerve that is NFL’s national anthem protests, with its cover depicting Dr. King kneeling alongside Colin Kaepernick and Michael Bennett, two of the instrumental leaders in the controversy. The cover’s artist, Mark Ulriksen, says the inspiration for it came after he asked himself: “what would King be doing if her were around today?”
He goes on to say: “How would you feel if you had to show up at work every day and salute a country that treats black people like second-class citizens? I’m glad that Colin Kaepernick and Michael Bennett are making it political. I’m sure that if King were around today, he’d be disappointed at the slow pace of progress...”
On a day designed for public service and national unity, some in the media insist on making it about politics.
"The sad thing is that the crucial point being missed amid all of this is that it is precisely Dr. King’s teachings that we ought to embrace in order to combat the very forces of division the media seems determined to encourage and enflame," Hunt writes. "It will take strength not to retaliate when people demonize other Americans just because of their political differences."
"Regardless of the national anthem debate, we can all at least agree that when Dr. King knelt—he knelt in prayer," the author concludes. "Let this day serve as a reminder that now—more than ever—we should follow his example and pray that someday America would lay aside bitterness and contempt and, instead, choose unity and understanding."