The Chieftain

The Chieftain

NFL Players’ Kneeling Sparks Controversy

Sayuni Dias, Editor-in-Chief

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

In August, Colin Kaepernick started to gain attention on his silent protest of sitting during the national anthem. In September he gained yet more attention as he took a knee in solidarity with the BLM movement. As Kaepernick’s actions gained more attention more and more athletes joined the movement including Jeremy Lane from the Seattle Seahawks and Megan Rapinoe from Seattle Reign FC. Kneeling became controversial as many people spoke out saying that the action was disrespectful to the flag, country, and the soldiers who risked their lives for the United States. However, Kaepernick has reiterated many times that his actions are to bring attention to the problems the country faces especially in regard to Police Brutality and the treatment of Black Americans.

Today, the controversy has moved past Kaepernick and now entire teams are facing penalties for protesting. President Donald Trump made his position clear at a rally in Huntsville, Alabama: “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, “Get that son of a b**** off the field right now, out, he’s fired. He’s fired!” The President’s statements fueled the controversy as many NFL players feared they would get punished for their peaceful protest. However, no one has been fired yet, and legal questions abound on whether firing players is actually legal or not.

The NFL game operations as stated by an NFL spokesperson to Time Magazine says that, “all players must be on the sideline for the National Anthem. During the National Anthem, players on the field and bench area should stand at attention.” (Time)  Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has told players that they must stand or they will be benched. While Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has told players that they can remain in the locker room or tunnel if they do not want to stand during the anthem. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell addressed the issue saying he wants to put the controversy to rest and reunite everyone. He also expressed plans to  have “an in-season platform to promote the work of players” in order to have more “honest conversations.” Despite all of this effort there is still a huge disparity between the NFL and the team owners. The NFL wants to allow players to kneel during the National Anthem however, there are some team owners like Jerry Jones who want to control their players with more force. When asked for his opinion on the growing controversy Assistant Varsity Football Coach Mr. Pleasant said, “I think it should be their [the players] choice. They’re kneeling because they have choices. And they’re bringing attention to how police treat minorities.”

Most recently, on Sunday, October 29th the majority of the Houston Texans team kneeled during the anthem after owner Bob McNair’s controversial remarks. At an owner-only meeting to address the “protest issue” McNair said, “We can’t have the inmates running the prison” in what many felt was referencing the players as inmates. Many Texans players were offended and according to ESPN “about Ten Players” walked out because of the McNair’s comments. While many returned later the comment still offended many, and few were ready to accept McNair’s apology. McNair apologized for the statement and further clarified that he was referring to the relationship between the league officers and team owners. However, the comments still sparked anger in many athletes from various teams who found the comments extremely offensive. Cecil Shorts III, who is currently a free agent and wide receiver went to Twitter to respond to McNair’s comments, he tweeted: “Inmates, slaves and products. That’s all we are to the owners and others. Not grown men with families, kids, wives, values, and morals.”

The controversy has gained so much attention that channels which do not usually cover the anthem have started to cover it. Kneeling during the National Anthem has sparked something in many people, and it is an argument that will not be easily put to rest. Colin Kaepernick may have started this protest, but it is continued by many other athletes through many different sports at many different levels.

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.

NFL Players’ Kneeling Sparks Controversy