Are Reasons Behind NFL Protest Changing?  

Are Reasons Behind NFL Protest Changing?  

Editorial Board

Last year, a peaceful protest broke out among National Football League (NFL) players mainly beginning with the San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick. Soon not only professional players, but also college and high school players were seen across the nation kneeling during the national anthem, because they refuse to stand for a flag that represents the country they are feeling oppressed in.

The protest has grown even more throughout the U.S. during the beginning of this football season, and the Miter staff holds diverse, controversial opinions.

The protest began with football players kneeling during the national anthem because they have the right to exercise their freedom of speech, according to the first amendment. However, the number of arguments against the peaceful protests have grown.

Some believe it is not right to kneel during the anthem because they believe it represents the United States military fighting for our freedoms.

Others may argue that it is acceptable to kneel for the flag because if the military is fighting for our freedom, why are the people not able to use that freedom how they wish?

Another argument against the protests of  NFL players kneeling is that they need to receive consequences for their actions. In the past, the NFL has not allowed other movements such as breast cancer awareness, so it must be fair.

This brought our staff to the discussion of President Donald Trump’s recent “tweet” that stated all NFL players kneeling during the anthem should be fired. His tweet was extremely uncalled for because while he may have control over some things in this country, he has no right to tell the league what to do with their employees.

While some still agree that the players should be punished for their actions, most of the staff seemed to agree that Trump’s social media post was unprofessional.

Another argument the black community has for kneeling is that they feel targeted by police officers in today’s society simply because of their race.

Recently, Seattle Seahawks defensive end, Michael Bennett was allegedly held at gunpoint by police officers while on vacation in Las Vegas. He felt this was based on his race, and became very passionate about the movement.

For the next couple of weeks, Bennett’s team along with several other teams not only kneeled or sat for the national anthem, but they did not even leave their locker rooms  when it was being sung. The team took part in this as a whole which caught the media’s attention.

Yes, the government funds the NFL to play the national anthem, but as of right now, there is no written rule or law that says it is illegal to sit or kneel. So, while some may believe it is disrespectful toward the flag, there is nothing suggesting that what these players are doing is actually wrong.

The question many have for Bennett and other NFL players taking part in this protest is: “where is it going from here?” By not taking part in standing for the flag, the black community has opened this discussion across the nation of whether or not it is right to stand for the flag. But are the two sides really respecting one another?

This past week, students in the Seattle area used social media to argue about this topic, bringing up the issue  of kneeling at a high school football game versus using the American Flag to lead the team out of the locker rooms and onto the field. This was inaccurate because neither of the photo can represent the views of the entire student body at either school. While a lot of political conversation can be seen on social media, including our president’s words, it is not the correct way to communicate.

The Miter staff calls everyone to one simple thing: educate yourself before you have a respectful conversation, not to use a conversation through snapchat, Instagram direct messages or twitter threads to express your opinions. As a matter of fact, Bennett says he would be willing to sit down with Trump and talk about his views on the situation and be willing to listen to the other side as well. The Miter staff recognizes  that everyone had different views, but we need  to respect one another and go into the discussion with an open mind. While many believe that they are very educated on this event, some may not consider the views of the side differing their opinion until they sit down and talk to someone with those beliefs.