Kneeling in the NFL


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

Annie Kocvara, Journalist

  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.