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The NFL and the National Anthem

NFL players protest against comments from the US President and racial injustice

Anna Hermes, The Writer's Quill Editor

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Protests against racial injustice began with the San Francisco 49’s former quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, during the National Football League’s 2016 season. 

Kaepernick displayed his protest by choosing to sit during the National Anthem at all of the 49ers football games. At the beginning of the current NFL season, six players opted not to stand during the Anthem. However, during the third week of the regular season, this number escalated to over 200 players.

What was the cause of this? Players knelt or sat during the Anthem largely due to comments made to the NFL from President Donald Trump.

Whole teams opted to remain in their locker rooms, others locked arms, others knelt, and still others raised their fists. The entire Dallas Cowboys team, however, has chosen to stand for the anthem. Their owner, Jerry Jones, stated that

“If there is anything disrespecting the flag, then we will not play. Period. We’re going to respect the flag and I’m going to create the perception of it.” ~Jerry Jones

He also said,

“We cannot in anyway give the implication that we tolerate disrespecting the flag. We know that there is a serious debate in this country about those issues, but there is no question in my mind, that the [NFL] and the Dallas Cowboys are going to stand up for the flag.” ~Jerry Jones

During week four, the number of protestors decreased to about a quarter of the week before. In week five, Vice President Mike Pence left the Colts vs 49ers game, tweeting,

“I left today’s Colt’s game because President Trump and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem. At a time when so many Americans are inspiring our nation with their courage, resolve, and resilience, now, more than ever, we should rally around our Flag and everything that unites us. While everyone is entitled to their ownopinions, I don’t think it’s too much to ask NFL players to respect the Flag and our National Anthem. I stand with President Trump, I stand with our soldiers, and I will always stand for our Flag and our National Anthem.” ~Vice President Mike Pence

Many teams during week five stood during the Anthem, several locking arms. There are still some who kneel, a few who remain in the locker room, or raise their fists. About 20 of the 49ers players did not stand for last Sunday’s game, the most players on one team to continue to do so.

Because of these protests, fans throughout the U.S have boycotted the NFL, left games, and even cancelled their subscriptions to NFL channels. 

 

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The NFL and the National Anthem