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Column: Weighing in on the NFL Anthem Protest

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Another week has passed in the NFL, and more and more players are using their platform as professional athletes to make a statement against injustices in our country.

As many readers know, Colin Kaepernick started kneeling during the national anthem last year after talking to former military member, and current NFL player Nate Boyer of the Seattle Seahawks. As the season went on, more players joined him and voiced their opinions, but by the end of the season, Kaeprnick found himself out of a job.

When the NFL returned this August, this topic became the most prevalent and controversial talking point among the public. Now we are seeing entire teams kneeling, players stretching, not taking the field for the anthem and other forms of protests.

Many military veterans have voiced their displeasure, but many have also supported the players. I don’t know about anyone else, but I have no problems with peaceful protests to get a message across. I believe these players could use their voice, talents, and resources to more effectively get their point across.

Now, putting all emotions aside, the NFL official rulebook states “The National Anthem must be played prior to every NFL game, and all players must be on the sideline for the National Anthem. During the National Anthem, players on the field and bench area should stand at attention, face the flag, hold helmets in their left hand, and refrain from talking.”

This does mean that technically the NFL and owners can punish teams and players for this type of protest, although it has not happened which I will applaud the NFL for allowing this freedom.

Many people are burning their jerseys, season tickets and demonizing everyone involved, and making it a much bigger issue. I speak on the behalf of many in saying that it is time to grow up and learn how to respect the opinion of all.

It is hard to dismiss the issue when the President of The United States has even chimed in on the subject. President Trump has been active in this discussion on Twitter, bashing the NFL and its players, and even making inappropriate backhanded comments about players.

Now, Mr. Trump has his right to free speech as well, but I certainly think the most powerful man in the world has bigger issues, or could at least address them in a more presidential manner.

It will be interesting to see how the rest of the season unfolds, what players protest, how they protest and the repercussions both politically and with the fans themselves.

I know this discussion has leaked into many classes at Siena, and has generated heated debates around the world. As the next generation of adults and leaders coming into the real world, I am interested to know the opinion of all who have read this article or know about this issue.

Feel free to leave a comment, as this is a topic that needs to be discussed!

 

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Column: Weighing in on the NFL Anthem Protest