Protests spread across the NFL

Adam Shefet, Online Sports Reporter

NFL Protests

The newest controversy in american sports regards NFL players and their actions towards the national anthem. Then San Francisco 49ers Quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, started the trend in Aug. 2016 by refusing to stand during the national anthem.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” said Kaepernick to Steve Wyche, NFL reporter in late Aug, 2016.

At first, Kaepernick was alone in his efforts. For three preseason games he sat and no one followed. After the third game, news outlets finally began to notice his actions. He had been losing his position in the team being dropped as the starting quarterback and his protests were straining tensions with the 49ers executives. Kaepernick ended up opting out of his contract at the end of the 2016 season but his influence slowly spread across the NFL, to the point where about 150 players took a knee or showed some sort of protest during the playing of the national anthem in week four of this year.

This isn’t the first time an athlete has started controversy over protesting of the national anthem. During the 95-96’ NBA season, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, A 5-year veteran, would not stand for the national anthem. He believed that the American flag is a sign of oppression and that it would not follow his muslim faith.

The recent protests have been met with backlash from some fans because they see it as a disrespect to the country and as a lack of patriotism.

“I do not feel that the national anthem is what you should target your frustrations towards….I feel that Mr. Goodell (NFL commissioner) should step in and stop the behavior his players are exhibiting,” said James Owens, freshman.

Others believe that because it is their first amendment right, that they are doing no wrong and that they are entitled to protest anything they see as wrong.

“They’re using their rights to change something they care about. I think it’s been blown out of proportion and that we should all let them be,” said Olivia Cassidy, freshman.

As time went on protests started to come in different forms. Players were linking arms and leading prayers and other teams such as the Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans did not enter the field until after the anthem played.

“We’re not participating in the anthem today. Not to be disrespectful to the anthem but to remove ourselves from the circumstance. People shouldn’t have to choose [on protests],” said Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach.

To add to the controversy, President Donald Trump has been tweeting his feelings and views on the matter causing some americans to question his priorities.

“The issue of kneeling has nothing to do with race. It is about respect for our Country, Flag and National Anthem. NFL must respect this!” said Trump.