Kneeling in the NFL

Colin Kaepernick and a fellow player kneeling during the anthem. (credit: Getty Images )

Colin Kaepernick and a fellow player kneeling during the anthem. (credit: Getty Images )

Colin Kaepernick and a fellow player kneeling during the anthem. (credit: Getty Images )

Annie Kocvara, Journalist

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  The NFL has been facing some major backlash from the fans because of players kneeling, sitting, and staying in the locker room during the anthem. People do not like it when sports and politics mix. Watching football is supposed to be like a break from the real world.

Colin Kaepernick and a fellow player kneeling during the anthem. (credit: Getty Images )

  The protests started in August of 2016 when a player from the San Francisco 49ers, Colin Kaepernick, he protested for police brutality and black rights.

  Back in the day, the players would stay in the locker rooms while the anthem was performed. In 2009 that changed for the primetime games. It was applied only to the primetime games because the rules had already been placed on the daytime games.

President Trump spoke out against players that have been protesting during the anthem. Trump tweeted “The NFL has decided that it will not force players to stand to the playing of our National Anthem. Total disrespect for our great country!”

  Trump launched a petition for the NFL to “stand up for the anthem and ‘show your patriotism’. And if they don’t stand they should fire the players.”

  Because Trump spoke out against the kneeling players, more people began to sit, kneel, or stay in the locker room. With this political mix, people don’t want to watch the games anymore. Most people like to keep their love for sports and politics separate.

  I interviewed a coach, who would like to be anonymous, about their thoughts on the kneeling teams and players.  They said, “I think they have the right to protest peacefully however they want. I don’t believe that it is appropriate for them to use their ‘platform’ at work to do that… I’m not allowed to use my platform at my work to do that. If I did I would be fired.”

Some members of the Oakland Raiders sit on the bench during the anthem, in a game against the Redskins. AP Photo/ Alex Brandon

  I don’t completely agree with this position, but I get where they are coming from. Everyone has the right to do what they want, but there needs to be an appropriate time to do those things. If you want to sit for the pledge, then do it somewhere else. Most people do not want to see someone disrespecting the flag and the anthem.

  Politics and sports should not mix. An article on called “Former Carl’s Jr. CEO: NFL could have prevented protest mess, as any competent employer would.” explains my opinion

  Andy Puzder said,“We simply do not support what these players are doing and, just as they have the right to kneel, we have the right to turn off the games or, like Vice President Pence, we have the right to leave.” On the New York Times, they covered most of the teams who knelt, sat, went to the locker rooms, for the anthem.

   There are many teams involved in these protests:

  •   Six players from the Indianapolis Colts sat on the bench, and the week before that they stayed in the locker room.
  •    A group of 30 players from the San Francisco 49ers knelt during the song, and the rest just stood behind them. But the Cardinals, who the 49ers were playing this week, all stood.
  •   An Oakland Raiders player, Marshawn Lynch, did his usual routine and sat on the bench, while the Denver Broncos stood with their hands on their hearts, except for one player who joined Colin Kaepernick in his protests last year, who raised a fist.
  • The Jacksonville Jaguars knelt before the anthem started, but stood when it actually started.

  These are only some incidents during some of the games, so much more ‘protests’ have happened throughout the rest of week 4.

  Incidents like this have also happened the Olympics, in 1968 two athletes, Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fist to black power on the medal stand as the national anthem played, they were thrown out of the Olympics.

   I, for one, don’t agree with the actions of the NFL football players. I get that they are standing and/or kneeling as a protest for police brutality and black rights, but most of them are only protesting because Trump spoke out against their actions.  

  I’m a football manager, so I have a close connection to football and seeing all these players protesting just bothers me in a way. Don’t get me wrong. It’s their decision to kneel and sit, but I just feel like it’s very disrespectful.

   To the people that are in the military, they live by the flag and the anthem, it represents the country they are fighting for. They don’t want to see fellow Americans disrespecting the country like those players ‘protesting’.

  I get that everyone has their own reasons to “protest”, so to speak, but do it at the right time. Like a public event, such as a football game, is not the right time to do so. Express your ‘opinion’ out on the streets like everyone else. It’s easier for people like me to ignore them.

About the Writer
Annie Kocvara, Journalist

I’ve been writing for the school newspaper since last year, and i’ve really enjoyed it. I like informing others on events going on around. Even though I’m not the best writer I still love being on the newspaper. I like reading, watching shows and movies, I love anything Disney, clothes are pretty sweet. And I love having pictures of things that I’ve done with friends and family, I like having those memories


19 Responses to “Kneeling in the NFL”

  1. Makayla Nelson on November 7th, 2017 10:01 am

    I appreciate this article because it depicts not only my views on American football players failing to kneel, but also valid reasons as to why they should kneel in respect. This article is very well written and effectively depicts an underlying issue that is present in American society. Great job!

  2. Jeremiah on November 15th, 2017 8:30 am

    I appreciate this article because it writes about the problems people have.

  3. Zarah Whittle on November 15th, 2017 8:31 am

    Very well written, i especially liked the part where you expressed your opinion.

  4. Mateya Perez on November 15th, 2017 8:32 am

    I really appreciate this because it has valid reasons as to why American football players should kneel in respect . Good job on this article!

  5. Jazmine Cook on November 15th, 2017 8:37 am

    I agree you when you say that they should protest somewhere else. I have quit watching football do to the fact of them disrespecting the flag and I used to love watching football.

  6. Mr. Larssen on November 15th, 2017 8:38 am

    I believe most of America agrees with your position on kneeling and disrespecting the flag. Although the protest started a dialogue in the U.S., perhaps the better protest would be in respective communities because statistics indicate that most of the police brutality is against Caucasians. I hope that more millionaire NFL players protest in Black neighborhoods and start programs to help the communities that need it most.

  7. Avi Huling on November 15th, 2017 8:39 am

    Annie, you did this girl! i love your story so much. I like that you included the opinions and the different aspects of how people feel about this. Very well written.

  8. Koby on November 22nd, 2017 8:54 am

    Good article, I personally believe that players should stand for the anthem due to the fact that their “platform” to show what they feel or believe. Players don’t know what has been done to earn those rights. In my experience I have seen veterans that can’t stand for the anthem due to their sacrifice for us. So if players in their prime can’t stand for something that others wish they could stand for then those players shouldn’t be shone to the public or on such a stage as they are.

  9. Cali Mashore on November 22nd, 2017 8:59 am

    Our national anthem is just that, our nations anthem. When any person disrespects our nation by not standing for the flag they aren’t only disrespecting our country but every single person who fought for the flag and every person who founded the flag. When Kocvara explains everyone has the right to “do what they want”, I agree that yes this is a country founded on freedom. That people are free to say what they want. Yet the way they are bashing our flag is inappropriate and shouldn’t even be a problem. If “Black Lives Matter” is really the cause of this mayhem they should approach it differently. Stand for our nation.

  10. Nick McFadden on November 22nd, 2017 8:59 am

    I personally find it disrespectful when people that we look up to disrespect our country.”Most people don’t want to see someone disrespecting the flag or anthem.”It is a slap in the face to those in the military who fought for this country and our freedom

  11. Katie Goodman on November 22nd, 2017 9:30 am

    I agree that kneeling for the national anthem is disrespectful. There is a certain time and place to fight for rights but on a public front that effects one of the most commonly associated games with America it is not the place to do so. Many people joined the protest of kneeling after President Trump began to place his input in the manner since many people want to hold the opposite opinion of the president. “because Trump spoke out against the kneeling players, more people began to sit” is a valid argument since the popular concept today is to appose the president when he is in fact exercising his right to a freedom of speech like the football players are in a sense using their right as well in participating in the kneeling.

  12. Sergio Sanchez on November 22nd, 2017 9:32 am

    American Football players created disunity amongst the U.S because players are “players are kneeling during the national anthem.” It is as if they said no to a magnificient country with rights and liberties. Football players are lucky to have freedom, because 200 years ago, they had no rights at all.

  13. Emily Madmon on November 22nd, 2017 9:33 am

    I agree that politics and sports should not mix, but at the same time it is a good way to get attention. There are countless viewers of sports games, even though they do not watch the game for protests it is a good way to start an uprising. I think the author of the article was a little bias against Trump.

  14. Makayla Murphy on November 22nd, 2017 10:01 am

    This is extremely controversial especially because Americas culture involves watching football. I believe that it is not a big deal to kneel during the national anthem because the players are standing for something they believe in. I think it is appropriate to use their platform to stand up for police brutality. It is not intentionally disrespectful. Mentioned in the article, how one of the teams knelt before the anthem started is probably a better way to go about the situation, but I do not see the problem in kneeling during it either.

  15. Skyler Lauver on February 9th, 2018 9:36 am

    I personally think that although everyone should have the right to an opinion, I do not think it is appropriate to kneel during the National Anthem. As a performer myself, I find it offensive when people refuse to stand while I sing “The Star-Spangled Banner.” I feel that as a U.S. citizen, it is disrespectful to our country and those who have served our country to remain seated during a production. Annie Kocvara says “because Trump spoke out against the kneeling players, more people began to sit, kneel, and stay in the locker room.” I believe this is more targeted toward disrespecting the president though it comes across as disrespecting the country itself.

  16. Rodney Nottingham on February 9th, 2018 11:51 am

    This article is 100% true? Players and people should be able to do as they wish; if they do no not feel like standing for the national anthem, they should not have to. But they should think of the people who lose their lives to defend their right of freedom. People have a right, but Andy Puzder said, “We simply do not support what these players are doing, and just as they have the right to kneel, we have the right to turn off the games or, like Vice President Pence, we have the right to leave.” Andy is probably a real politician and does not understand how the African-Americans feel about their rights and color.

  17. hannah mcelheny on February 12th, 2018 9:11 am

    I completely agree with Trump as he states that not standing for the National Anthem is “total disrespect for our great country.” I believe that if someone is in our country, but they do not want to stand for it then maybe they should not be in our country. Especially now that the NFL is not standing, it is causing a huge conflict between sports and politics.

  18. Leanne Langston on February 12th, 2018 11:35 am

    I believe that sports and politics should never mix but with two things so wildly popular, that may be hard. Kneeling in the NFL should not be that big of a deal but Trump tweeting “the NFL has decided that it will not force players to stand to the playing of our National Anthem. Total disrespect for our great country!” has caused much uproar between the players and fans. Kneeling is such an easy way to protest in America because we love football in this country. Although it’s controversial to many, sports and politics should never mix.

  19. miguel on September 24th, 2018 11:42 am

    this is just wrong how could they take a knee during the national anthem

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