N.B.A. Should Compel Athletes to Respect the Flag
TO THE EDITORS
Although I am not a great supporter of my nation, the United States of America, I find it ludicrous that Denver Nuggets basketball star Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf refused to acknowledge the playing of our national anthem. The United States does have a long distory of oppression, and oppression still goes on today, However, the American flag stands for much more than just oppression. Ironically, the stars and stripes also represent democracy and the free-market economy, two aspects of the United States that it seems Abdul-Rauf has no problems with. By refusing to acknowledge "The Star Spangled Banner," Abdul-Rauf is not only spitting in the face of the oppressors, but he is biting the hand that feeds him. If not for the free-market system and democracy, I doubt that Abdul-Rauf would be the millionaire that he is today.
N.B.A. executives should fine those who fail to pay their respects to the American flag. Only in this country can one make such a great amount of money for doing something that they love, playing the game of basketball. Abdul-Rauf's refusal seems somewhat paradoxical as the perpetrator denounces his right to free speech while at the same time exercising it. Abdul-Rauf's display shows a great deal about his character; he is a self-interested hypocrite taking advantage of his celebrity status to gain increased attention. I do not ask Abdul-Rauf to love his country, merely to show it the respect it deserves for providing him, and only him, the opportunity to pursue his dreams. An article in Newsweek summed it up best: "...if the national anthem is such an obvious symbol of tyranny and oppression, why isn't the national dollar likewise to be denied?" --Scott Muoio '99