Cleat Geeks

Protests in the NFL; Should We Stand Or Kneel?

I don’t think anyone would’ve thought that what Colin Kaepernick started during the 2016 season would’ve grown so wide spread in a year. From him protesting against the way society treats the people of color to protesting against president Donald Trump.Image result for colin kaepernick knee

The Beginning Of The Protests
Kaepernick was a member of the NFL last season playing for the San Francisco 49ers. Kaepernick was first noticed sitting during the anthem before switching over to kneeling because he believed it showed more respect to our military members while still protesting. In a post-game interview Colin Kaepernick explained his reason for kneeling during the anthem. He said “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. 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.” He would also go on to say that he would continue to protest until he believes the American flag represents what its suppose to represent. Because of his action many NFL and other athletes began raising a fist and/or kneeling during the anthem. Players such as Brandon Marshall (Denver Broncos), Michael Thomas and Arian Foster (Miami Dolphins) amongst others had started kneeling during the anthem in the 2016 season.

Why Did The Protests Explode?
Image result for alejandro villanueva national anthemDuring 2017 the protests exploded. Trump had made statements throughout the season about how the league has been handling the anthem protests. During week 3 of NFL season after Trump had made a statement, more than 200 players participated in the protests. Many of the 200 participants including 27 members of the Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars decided to kneel during the anthem but stood during the British national anthem. Teams such as the Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans decided to stay in the locker room until the anthem concluded. Seattle released a statement saying “We will not stand for the injustice that has plagued people of color in this country. Out of love for our country and in honor of the sacrifices made on our behalf, we unite to oppose those that would deny our most basic freedoms.” Many teams along with their owners decided to lock arms during the anthem, to name a couple the teams include the Dallas Cowboys, Arizona Cardinals, and Chicago Bears. The most shocking in my opinion came from the Pittsburgh Steelers. Alejandro Villanueva served as an Army Ranger prior to playing football was the only player present during the anthem while the rest of the team stayed in the locker room. This message would soon grow to other sports including high school and college.

Outside the NFL
Image result for bruce maxwell kneeBut little would we all know how much this would grow outside of the NFL. Recently J.T. Brown of the Tampa Bay Lightning raised his first during the national anthem. During the WNBA Finals between the Los Angeles Sparks and the Minnesota Lynx, players from the Sparks decided to stay in the locker room while members from the Lynx decided to lock arms on the court. These protests even steamed as far as MLB when Oakland A’s player Bruce Maxwell was seen kneeling during the anthem. The protest have also recently found themselves in the hands of high schools and colleges. During a college volleyball game three members from West Virginia Tech were seen kneeling during the anthem. Colorado Christian University recently banned its athletes from protesting the national anthem. In high school students who played football for Victory & Praise Christian Academy were removed from the game by their coach and forced them to take off their uniforms on the sideline. A high school in Louisiana threaten to punish any student who protested against the anthem.

Should We Stand Or Kneel?
I agree with the players and organizations message but I don’t approve of the action. We aren’t united and we haven’t been for a couple years. Police brutality amongst other issues has begun to take its toll on the country. The NFL was able to show to us that they stand as a family no matter the issues at hand. But should they have taken a knee during the anthem? Our soldiers fight for our rights each and everyday and when we do knee I believe we violate what they are trying to do for our country.

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