Pro/Con: Should NFL players kneel during the national anthem?

Pro: Kainoa Nunez

Another year for football in America, and fans are always excited to see their favorite teams play. On Sept. 22 in Huntsville, Alabama, President Donald Trump performed a speech mentioning NFL players.

President Trump stated that if any NFL player doesn’t rise for the National Anthem, they should be fired immediately instead of suspension, and using the term “son of a b—-” to refer to them specifically.

“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’,” Trump said.

That following Sunday, most NFL teams had a message to our President, from more than 200 hundred players either kneeled raised a fist, interlocked arms, sat down, or stayed in the locker room during the National Anthem The players were not happy with the President’s comments, and I agree with them.

Kneeling is to be in or assume a position in which the body is supported by a knee or the knees, as when praying or showing submission. Kneeling isn’t offensive and is the exercise of free of speech and the right to exercise constitutional rights.

For example, U.S. Army veteran Alejandro Villanueva, offensive tackle, was the only PIttsburgh Steelers player to stand for the National Anthem in the tunnel while his team was in the locker room. But, after regretted it that he wasn’t with his team rather than paying his respects to the flag he apologized to the fans and media for his actions.

Most NFL player have no intent to disrespect our flag or to our troops that have died protecting our country. They love this country and are very grateful for the things that have happen to them. But, the President states that this protest has nothing to do with race, and he’s wrong.

There is a reason these NFL players are protesting peacefully, because they want to end racial injustice, police brutality and the inequality that is still happening in our country today. But, people don’t care about that, for they just see the main picture which is players not respecting and rising for our flag. That is unfortunate, and it’s sad to see that our country is becoming divided. It should never be that way.

No athlete should be fired for exercising their constitutional rights because that would be illegal, and Trump’s words were unnecessary when he called players “sons of b—–.” There was no need to call any of them that.

This protest to kneeling is an awareness to end injustice, brutality from the police and inequality.

Everyone has the rights to express freedom of speech for it says in our first amendment, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to  assemble, and to petition of Government for a redress of grievances.”

The fans and viewers around our country see their teams as offensive and disgraceful for they don’t rise for the National Anthem, and on top of that fans have expressed on what they think of their teams protesting by burning every owned gear.

It’s so unnecessary to do, and if they believe what they think of the teams are doing then there’s nothing to change their mind.

There is too much negativity that is going through our country today, and it’s scary because we as a country should collaborate and unite. This protest raises awareness for people to understand what is happening in our country. NFL players want to make our country come together instead of going against each other. That’s why players will keep protesting until the injustice, inequality and brutality from the police end.

Con: Austin Ramirez

There are many ways to peacefully protest as an NFL player. One of which is to kneel or sit during the national anthem. While it is a constitutional right of the player to do so, it is not acceptable on a grand stage.

As an NFL player, you are expected to give your attention to the flag for our fallen and current troops who protect our country for that short minute and a half during the anthem.

While the players have not said directly that they are disrespecting our troops, that is how many people see the protest. There are no words needed when not standing or paying your respects during the national anthem. A player’s actions will speak much louder than their words.

Players want to be seen and heard as they protest for equality, but the stage on which they are doing so is not correct. That minute and a half is the time that our troops have earned from us by protecting our rights and freedoms.

The players are disrespecting the troops who have fought and currently are fighting for that player’s right to peacefully protest. This is not to say that the players should not protest in some way shape or form if they feel that it needs to be done, but on national television during that honorary moment is not the time nor the place to do so.

Some teams have military veterans on their team. If a member of your team is a military veteran, you owe them the respect to stand during that moment. No matter how you feel about, what has been said by anyone else, you owe your teammate that minute and a half, and if you can’t give them that, then you don’t deserve to be on that NFL field alongside them.

A major problem with players not standing for the national anthem is that it is a part of politics and a political action. While the NFL is a business at the end of the day, the majority of the fans do not want to see football become more political. Fans want to see the sport be played because that is why they pay money to go to the games and watch the sport.

Fans do not buy tickets to the game to watch players kneel during the anthem or express their political opinion. Players can do that in their free time.

Many former fans have expressed that they will no longer be watching or spending money on NFL products because it is simply too political now. While a fan here and there may not seem like a big deal, the bigger picture is there there are so many fans who have stopped watching and paying for the games because they don’t want to see another political event.

According to an NFL memo from Brian Rolapp and Howard Katz, the NFL’s viewership through the first four weeks is down by 11 percent. That is 11 percent in just four short weeks; it will only get worse if these protests continue.

Players need to realize that their actions are causing the NFL to lose views. If the NFL loses views, that means pay cuts for the teams and ultimately the players. So those players making millions and protesting right now will be making less and less over time if they continue these protests.