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NFL Players Have the Right to Kneel

by:  Domenic Casparriello

Over this past weekend the football world collided with the political world, as a number of protests occurred during the national anthem of each NFL game. Most NFL players showed some form of protest, including kneeling, raising a fist, locking arms with teammates, or not coming out of the locker room for the anthem at all.

These protests caused a lot of mixed opinions about whether to stand out of respect for the flag or to sit in support of First Amendment rights. It is clear President Trump is in favor of standing, as many of his tweets show support for this idea. “The NFL has all sorts of rules and regulations. The only way out for them is to set a rule that you can’t kneel during our National Anthem!” said President Trump.

I believe Trump telling people to not protest in this way is an infraction of people’s First Amendment rights. Anyone who doesn’t agree with things going on in this country should and does have the right to protest, especially if the protests are non violent. However, the president has no right to tell the people how to behave when it comes to first amendment rights.

Additionally, President Trump is catching a lot of negative feedback because after a white supremacist committed a terrorist act in Charlottesville, Virginia earlier this summer, President Trump cited there was “blame on both sides.” However, during these NFL protests against racial inequality, President Trump has adamantly voiced his stance against the protesters. Because of Trump’s tone and attitude, his comments have been deemed “divisive.”

Many athletes both black and white have come out against Trump’s words, in favor of the NFL player protests. One notable is Patriots quarterback Tom Brady who said he, “certainly disagrees” with the “divisive” comments that President Trump has made.  President Trump has now created more enemies than friends, and his ignorance on the subject is dividing the country.

It is certainly worth noting that these protests that occur during the anthem are powerful, and they are not protests against the National Anthem or the American Flag.  The president and others disagree.  However, as one anonymous source on Twitter  said, “Rosa Parks did not refuse to move to the back of the bus to protest public transportation.”

Players are protesting against racism and police brutality. The protests are very much patriotic in the sense that they are a powerful example of expression of First Amendment rights.

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