Anthem Protests Reignite After NFL Decision Stalls


Photo Courtesy of AP Images

Last year, anthem protests by NFL players incited considerable controversy.

Jaydi Swanson, Views Editor

The bell rings, its shrill sound signaling the beginning of a new day. The moment of silence ends, and students stand around you to recite the pledge of allegiance. You make the choice to remain seated. Immediately, your classmates shoot dirty glances at you, and your teacher threatens to reward your disrespect with detention.

Imagine this daily opportunity that you have to protest peacefully being taken away. In the NFL, this could be reality.

Since 2016, NFL players have shown their dissatisfaction with our country by kneeling during the National Anthem. The protests started in response to social injustices and police brutality against blacks, and the field became a platform to raise awareness.

At first, the league owners avoided a firm decision, requiring all players to be on the field but only encouraging them to stand. This summer, the policy became more oppressive.

“All team and league personnel on the field shall stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem…A club will be fined by the League if its personnel are on the field and do not stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem,” the NFL said in its official statement in May.

After the NFL Players Association complained, the league froze the policy, according to the New York Times, but the sting of the dictator-like decision remains.

Who’s to say where justice can and cannot be pursued? If a football field is where men such as Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson, the two Miami Dolphin players that reignited protests at their preseason game, appear each week, why not use it to their advantage?

Not all people see it this way. Some are disgusted by the supposed disrespect to our veterans and soldiers. President Trump falls on this side, and he made his opposing feelings clear in his post-game tweet.

“A football game, that fans are paying soooo much money to watch and enjoy, is no place to protest,” he tweeted. “Find another way to protest. Stand proudly for your National Anthem or be Suspended Without Pay!”

Much to President Trump’s dismay, our country’s issues do not just disappear when a touchdown is scored. Injustice cannot be contained to one area of our lives, but instead it seeps into our daily doings.

This season, maybe America should try something new. With less complaining and more consideration of the reasons behind the protests, we can stand together on and off the field.