By Caitlin Breglia
There has been a huge controversy revolving around one of the biggest parts of American culture: Football, our favorite Sunday afternoon pastime. We all know that one of the hallmarks of American culture is that before every game they play our nation’s national anthem. Players all stand together with their right hand over their heart and honor our nation’s flag. We have all experienced this whether at a professional sporting event or a youth game. One specific player in the National Football League, by the name of Colin Kaepernnick, decided to take a knee during the national anthem. This silent protest spoke volumes and raised hell throughout the NFL and the American community. His kneeling was a protest against police brutality in the U.S. Some people including the president of the United States considered this act completely unpatriotic and disrespectful to our country, our flag, and the servicemen and women who protect our freedoms.
Although, many other players joined Kaepernicks’ silent protest, many Americans were appalled. Kaepernick says “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people, and people of color.” He preaches that this issue is bigger than football. As more people start to follow his lead and join him in solidarity, the crazier and more controversial the act became. Kaepernicks’ one action is leading to not just individual players, but entire NFL teams kneeling in silent reproach.
The entire Seattle Seahawks team stayed in their locker room for the playing of the national anthem before one recent game. Their team preaches that “We will not stand for the injustice that has plagued people of color in this country,” according to a team statement. “Out of love for our country and in honor of the sacrifices made on our behalf, we unite to oppose those that would deny our most basic freedoms.”
That spoke volumes and even touched a 97-year-old World War II veteran named John Middlemas, who also knelt during the anthem. He said “These kids have every right to protest”. The silent protesting is driving our president Donald Trump crazy. He spoke up and said that all protesting players should be fired. The more that Trump is criticizing the NFL the more that owners and executives are supporting the players in the protests. On Sunday, Trump tweeted that “NFL attendance and ratings are WAY DOWN.” Another tweet read, “Boring games yes, but many stay away because they love our country.” This statement is just not true reporters say. In fact, NFL is the most popular televised sport in the U.S. regardless of the protesting.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell addressed the national anthem protests with prominent owners and players during a recent summit meeting. They all shared different opinions and beliefs, however, Goodell didn’t push players to stop kneeling for the national anthem. Donald Trump is still fighting and is outraged Goodell didn’t side with him. He tweeted again “The NFL has decided that it will not force players to stand for the playing of our National Anthem. Total disrespect for our great country!” Responding to this tweet was a retired NFL coach and football commentator. He says “As the leader of our country I think the president ought to invite some of these young men to the White House to hear their concerns.”
Everyone involved in the kneeling and protesting has been very calm and non-violent, they’re just trying to stand up for what they believe in. President Trump is the one getting aggressive on social media. So, I guess the question we ask ourselves now is how long is this going to go on for? Nobody knows the answer to this question. This will probably continue until we see a change in our great country for people of all races. Although we have all this controversy swirling around us, remember to sit down with your friends and family Sunday night and enjoy the game of football that we all know and love, and while you are doing that remember why we have such a luxury.