Athletes Have the Right to Kneel During the National Anthem

Do players have a privilege to kneel during the national anthem? Would it be advisable for them to? In today’s society this is such a controversial topic where people have different ways of thinking and different opinions. This argument, is argued by many people such president Trump, NFL players, and more people. So about athletes kneeling during the national anthem, I personally don’t believe that athletes should feel the need to or even think, as if they are forced to kneel during the national anthem. Even obligated to kneel during the national anthem. Athletes should have the choice, whether that is to kneel or to not kneel during the national anthem song.

While most say NFL players have the right to protest by kneeling, 54 percent still wish they wouldn’t, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll. The issue of whether professional athletes should stand during the national anthem has been simmering, often boiling over, since an athlete from the San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, a professional football player in the National Football League, engaged in his form of protest. On August 2016 he decided to sit down during the national anthem before an NFL preseason game, citing racial injustice and police brutality as the reasons for his actions. What followed was a media firestorm and ongoing debate about not only the issues he was protesting, but also about the First Amendment and the role of nationalism and patriotism in sports. Not remaining for the national anthem song is an authoritative document of tranquil dissent, or, in other words Amendment right. President Obama even said that Kaepernick was ‘exercising his constitutional right to make a statement. I think there’s a long history of sports figures doing so.” I agreed with previous president Obama. Kaepernick was following the first amendment in the bill of rights, he didn’t feel to kneel during the national anthem, and I personally don’t believe, that he should have the need to do so. He was expressing his way of thinking. He said it himself by saying that he was ‘exercising his constitutional right to make a statement. I think there’s a long history of sports figures doing so.’ Yes by doing so it may have been shocked and maybe even offended. It may have even caused division among their teams, their fans, and across the country.

Although, when not standing for the national anthem it also shocked many people in a hastily way. By making people pay attention, making more people involved in this issue. Many fans decided to boycott football, while others strongly support kneeling for the use of protesting racial inequality. People on both sides of the debate took to Twitter, using hashtags such as #boycott NFL, #takeaknee and #standforouranthem. As opposed to the current president of the United States Donald Trump. Trump had a different opinion, this occurs when the Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said his team will stand rather than kneeling during the national anthem, raise their fists or stay in the locker room during the national anthem. Or they risk being cut. The issue even overflowed into governmental issues when President Donald Trump was involved a year ago approached NFL proprietors to flame any of their players who stood amid the song of devotion. He urged them to state, ‘Get that son of a b **** off the field right now. … He’s fired.’ In addition, Kaepernick statement, along with Trump’s involvement. Additionally turned this into an issue in the U.S. Senate race in Texas, when Democrat U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke. Who is testing Republican Ted Cruz for his Senate situate. Tended to the issue a month ago during a town hall meeting in Houston. “Non-violently, peacefully, while the eyes of this country are watching these games, they take a knee to bring our attention and our focus to this problem to ensure that we fix it,” O’Rourke told Texans. “I can think of nothing more American than to peacefully stand up, or take a knee, for your rights, anytime, anywhere, or any place.”

People do not always agree on how much freedom should be extended in regard to speech, religion, and especially protest. Despite the freedom to protest government being a vital part of democracy, protests are often viewed unfavorably, which is reflected in public attitudes about protests as well as the coverage of such events. This is especially true for marginalized and fringe groups, be they social, religious, cultural or political. The disfavor may be truer for protests that occur when people are trying to entertain themselves, such as at sporting events, music concerts or other large public entertainment gatherings. People expect, and deem somewhat appropriate, protests outside of the Democratic or Republican National Conventions, for example.

However, the same cannot be said for protests that may occur at a Chicago Cubs game on a summer afternoon, or more recently, on the sideline of a preseason National Football League game. This aspect is important to remember and will be integral in understanding the reaction and news coverage of the protests examined in this paper.