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United They Kneel: NFL Players’ Right of Refusal

Hal Conte

Kyle Brown

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The president has waged a war, but it’s not with an invading country, or a terrorist organization. Instead he has decided to target NFL players who have decided to take a stand by taking a knee.

It’s a right that is protected by the first amendment. Yet, the commander-in-chief recently sent out a tweet saying, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!’”

This tweet set off a massive ripple throughout the NFL community in a way the president didn’t intend. By sending off that tweet instead of teams discontinuing their protests, teams took it to a new level. During Sunday’s games, teams locked arm in arm, players, coaches, and owners alike to kneel during the national anthem while some teams, like the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans, didn’t show up for the anthem at all.

The outside community has taken notice of this situation with some agreeing with the players. Like Gabby Houck, 19-year-old, Caucasian, journalism major from Doylestown who said, “soldiers fought for this freedom. I don’t know how to explain it, I feel like veterans shouldn’t get offended for something they fought for.”

Houck, who grew up in a predominantly white neighborhood also added, “he [Trump] has bigger things to worry about than NFL players peacefully protesting…Our president is filled with so much hate that he can’t see past that.”

While a valid view, others, like Jeff Long a mixed-raced 18-year-old biology major from Langhorne stated, “I am against the players I see it as a disrespect. Men and women fought for our flag. I agree they have a right to protest, but they can do it in a different way than them kneeling during the anthem.”

Long, who agrees with the president’s sentiment but commented “Trump could’ve said it in a different way” offered a solution to the president’s dilemma; “if he focuses on the racial injustice, then that would nip that in the bud and then the protests in the NFL would most likely end.”

While simple in premise, this situation is much easier said than done. In recent years racial injustices are gaining more and more national attention and it seems like with this new presidency it seems like things aren’t getting any better.

Joshua Daranijo, 19, a video production major from Levittown said, “as a bisexual African-American, a lot of the times you get discriminated against. They see me as a large black man and they think I’m going to be rude and nasty, but I’m not. I am kind and caring…I’ve had people say that they wouldn’t date me because I’m black, it breaks my heart when I hear it.”

Daranijo didn’t end there as he also added, “I’ve actually been told by an officer that if cops see other cops doing any type of racial injustice and they try to stop it, they get black balled.”

So, if law enforcement won’t step up and stand up for what’s right, who will? People may not want to see their NFL teams and players protest, but I’m sure there were people who didn’t want to see a Georgia Baptist minister stand up for others rights either.

These players who are using this first amendment right aren’t the only ones to do so. Shayna Lopez-McClain from Morrisville said, “I hated doing the pledge during school. We were conditioned to do it in school so it didn’t really mean anything. It was monotonous and boring. I actually sat down whenever it came on.”

The national anthem stands for America and all the values it holds which includes the right to protest the national anthem.

 

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The student newspaper of Bucks County Community College
United They Kneel: NFL Players’ Right of Refusal