National Anthem Controversy and President Donald Trump

national anthem controversyThe National Football League (NFL), The National Anthem, and the President of the United States, three seemingly separate entities are now entwined. The National Anthem has been associated with American sporting events for a long time. It has been sung with pride, while spectators, and players alike stand with their hands over their hearts and pride in the eyes. These days things are different, leaving many to wonder what happened. What caused the National Anthem controversy?

Colin Kaepernick

It all began with Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick, a well known quarterback for the San Fransisco 49ers, failed to stand during the National Anthem in August 2016. His failure to stand was a form of protest against racial injustice. Kaepernick felt that the country was not protecting all of the citizens (e.g., African Americans), due to a rash of killings at the hands of law enforcement officers. These killings also brought about the Black Lives Matter movement. Soon other players joined Kaepernick’s lead, and before long it became common to see NFL players protesting. Many began taking a knee during the singing of the National Anthem.

The Trump Effect

Fast forward to the 2017. Since Kaepernick’s peaceful protest, President Donald Trump made his feelings known about players kneeling during the anthem. His believed kneeling was disrespectful to the country, the military, and first responders. On September 23, 2017, President Trump called on NFL owners to fire players who failed to stand for the anthem.

President Trump also referred to a protesting NFL player as “son of a bi*ch” at a rally in Alabama. His comments and tweets have caused more players to take a stand and protest. On Sunday, September 24, 2017, owners, staff, and players either took a knee, linked arms, or refused to participate in the National Anthem. They wanted to show a united front against Trump’s divisive words.

NFL Players Thoughts

As far as the players,  those who are protesting do not believe they are disrespecting first responders, veterans,  or the military. Some have voiced how Trump is causing division when they are simply protesting what they deem as unfair treatment. Protesting afterall is American as apple pie. Protesting and standing up for a cause is what shaped this country in the first place.

Many people feel that Trump is attempting to limit America’s First Amendment Right: free speech. Some believe he should focus on bigger issues like: North Korea and damage sustain by Hurricane Harvey and Irma. Keep in mind, not all players support kneeling during the National Anthem.

Fallout?

Fans of the game, fall on both sides. Some support the players, some do not. New England Patriot’s fan booed players and chanted ‘stand up’, to players who took a knee. However, most fans just want to enjoy the game, and forget the politics for a little while. No matter which side you fall on, this entire situation is opening up a dialogue that addresses an important issue, the issue of racism, and whether or not every American feels represented by the government. Bringing issues out in the open is the only way to solve them, so the NFL, the National Anthem, and the President might be helping the citizens of this country come together, or at least talk about important issues. national anthem controversy

Video credit (in order):

CNN | Youtube

Unrestrained One | Youtube

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