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NFL Players Refuse Anthem Respect in Protest of Racial Rights

Jackie Adler, Sophomore Staff Writer

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America, home of the free because of the brave. As Americans, one of our favorite pastimes is watching sports, especially football. On Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays, Americans are cheering on their favorite teams as they watch the gladiator sport of the 21st century. The National Football Association (NFL) has always shown their respect to those who fight for our freedom by standing for the playing of our National Anthem before every game. Recently, the NFL has become a battleground between protesters and patriots. Players have been taking a knee to show their disagreement with our country’s racial policies.  

According to online sources, for the past two years, over 100 players have taken a knee before games. Colin Kaepernick was the first player to start the protest. He took a knee before a game during the 2016 season. Kaepernick, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback started the protest of racial oppression and inequality in the United States. Kaepernick stated, “I am not going to stand up and show pride in a flag for a country that opposes black people and people of color.” Many players have followed Kaepernick’s lead in what they believe to be a political right. Fans, players and coaches are torn between sides in this political debate. Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy states, “I go through the whole history of what it means with my players.” McCarthy told his players the National Anthem is very important, and he believes his players should stand. Some people believe racial rights in America are unjust. Others believe we have equal rights in America and those who choose to kneel should stand; they see the kneeling players as spoiled prima donnas who love America just enough to make millions through their sport, not recognizing the opportunities and privilege this country has already granted them via their celebrated position.

Some students at Hubbard High School have given their personal opinion on NFL players refusing to take a stand. Sophomore Joey Kempe states, “Everyone is overly sensitive about this issue. We, as Americans have freedom of speech.” Sophomore Ally Phibbs stands on the other side of the issue. She explains,  “I think it is disrespectful and all the players should stand.” Sophomore Grace Ryser favors both sides of the argument. Grace remarks, “Players do have freedom of speech and players have their rights to do whatever they desire, but I do think it is disrespectful to our flag and our country.”  As you can see, even in a small local school like HHS, opinions are divided.

President Donald Trump has made his opposition to kneel during the National Anthem clear. He recently tweeted, “Sports fans should never condone players that do not stand for their National Anthem or their country. NFL should change policy!” President Trump’s tweets have made some players want to riot more. On this opposing side is Miami Dolphins’ tight end Julius Thomas, who states “To have the president trying to intimidate people, I wanted to send a message that I do not condone that. I’m not OK with somebody trying to prevent someone from demonstrating for what they think is important.” Thomas is trying to reflect the fact that Americans have their own rights and beliefs.

Nowadays, people aren’t just watching football to enjoy the game, and that’s the most disappointing aspect. Very few arenas are left which have not become political hotbeds, and sports was always one of these areas–until recently.

 

    Credits: espn.com

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NFL Players Refuse Anthem Respect in Protest of Racial Rights