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NFL Players Kneeling: Is it the right thing to do?

John Franklin Lincoln, Editor

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For more than over a year now select athletes in the National Football League have protested social injustice and police brutality through means of kneeling during the singing of the National Anthem. This way of protest has been a hot topic ever since Colin Kaepernick began sitting in August of 2016. Some say that it is disrespectful to the precious American flag, while others believe that it is a form of an American’s right to freedom of speech.

The debate over kneeling during the anthem died down with the start of the 2017 NFL season, until the President of the United States changed that. On September 22, while campaigning for Senate candidate Luther Strange of Alabama, President Trump, referring to NFL players, said that owners should “get that son of a b—- off the field.”  Trump continued two days later when he tweeted, saying “Courageous Patriots have fought and died for our great American Flag — we MUST honor and respect it! MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” The President did not stop at that tweet, most recently tweeting on Sunday condoning the two dozen NFL players that continue to kneel for the anthem.

Even before the President Trump chimed in on the issue, Americans were debating whether or not this method of protest was correct, or respectful. These citizens also debated if the issues that the players were protesting even existed. Typically, those who are conservative, say that police brutality and social injustice do not exist in America, so there is not even a need for protest. While conservatives believe that, many liberals agree that social injustice and police brutality are major problems in America that need to be tackled, and the anthem protests are just the beginning to doing that. 

“I believe it is the right of [the NFL players] to kneel for the anthem. The Constitution guarantees the right of the people to peacefully protest, and that is just what these athletes are doing. They are calling to attention the social injustices that are happening to their fellow Americans,” said senior Ana Mae Shickich.  

Shickich goes on to state that “the public has become so caught up in whether or not this is respectful that they have lost sight of what is important: citizens in this not-quite-perfect nation are subject to racial discrimination each and every day. All that we can do is continue to try and improve this situation, and many more.”

In contrast to Shickich, freshman Laura Hoversland views it differently.

“The ways in which the NFL players are protesting are disrespectful not only to the American flag, but the soldiers who have fought to protect that flag, their families, and the country in general. I believe that if the players think that these issues are so bad that they could find a better, or different, way to stand up against these issues.”

Whether Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, there is one thing uniting each and every one of these people are Americans, guaranteed freedom of speech, but also gifted with the ability to make a change in the country they call home.

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NFL Players Kneeling: Is it the right thing to do?