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“NFL Kneeling Debate”

Abby Black, Staff Writer

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There has been a massive debate whether kneeling is seen as disrespectful in the NFL lately.  Some people agree that it is purely the player’s choice while others deem this offence as unpatriotic and disrespectful.

This debate started early in the 2016 football season with Colin Kaepernick, when he refused to stand for the national anthem.  He protested of what he deemed as wrongdoings against African Americans and minorities in the United States.  “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media in an interview after the game.  “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way.  There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”  Niners coach, Chip Kelly, told reporters that Kaepernick’s decision to not stand was “His right as a citizen” and said, “It’s not my right to tell him not to do something.”  However, refusal to support the American flag has received incredible backlash.  Kaepernick said that he is aware of what he is doing, and he knew that it would not sit well with others.  “This is not something that I am going to run by anybody,” he said.  “I am not looking for approval.  I have to stand up for people that are oppressed…If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right.”

This has inspired many other players in the current 2017 football season.  President Trump, however, was not impressed with this.  He tweeted, “If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL, or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem.  If not, YOU’RE FIRED.  Find something else to do!”  NFL players demonstrated  a show of solidarity during the national anthem against President Trump.  Some people such as Tom Brady opted to stand and lock arms.  The Seattle Seahawks and the Tennessee Titans stayed in their locker rooms in Nashville.  The Pittsburgh Steelers also skipped the anthem in Chicago.  Mr. Trump said he approved of players locking arms but declared that kneeling was “not acceptable.”  The entire offensive line of the Oakland Raiders, the only line in the NFL made up entirely of African-American players, was joined by the whole team in kneeling or sitting before their game against the host team, Washington Redskins.  It was one of the strongest protests to this day.  Michele Tafoya reported that Raiders Coach Jack Del Rio said that the Raiders players would have preferred to stay in the locker room but likely would have incurred a delay of game penalty.

These debates are yet to be over and will more than likely still progress for a while.  We might not know where this country is going, but we need to stick together and support everyone even if we disagree.

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