Late last week, Donald Trump stood up on a podium, in Alabama and commented on NFL players who have decided to protest the national anthem.

 

In lieu of encouraging owners to discipline these players who decide to take a stand, the President said, “”Get that son of a b**** off the field right now, he’s fired. He’s fired!”

 

Obviously, these comments have sparked a tremendous amount of controversy. Many players, coaches and even owners have spoken out against the comments that Trump made, with many calling them divisive.

 

Throughout Friday and Saturday, anticipation began to build and encouragements were made to players to stand together, united. Whether that meant kneeling together, standing together or even not being on the field during the Anthem, this was a chance for the NFL to come together as a collective and use the platform to speak out against ignorant comments made by the President.

 

As it turned out, 150 of over 1600 players kneeled yesterday during the anthems played before every respective games. Three teams (Steelers, Titans, and Seahawks) were not on the field during the Anthem, and two teams (Raiders and Ravens) had most of their roster sit down/kneel during the Anthem.

 

So, in light of all these things, we have to ask the question: What do we truly make of all this?

 

Well first, as an American, it’s important to understand that the well-being of our country is the most important thing to consider. Right now we’re in a state of flux and division because of actions done and things said by our current President. I’m sure we can all agree on that. Trump’s penchant to talk off the cuff and speak his mind without considering all parties has not only alienated our nation, but alienated other nations as well.

 

So we have to understand that because of this, people are and have the right to be upset while also having the right so speak freely. This is why there are so many different opinions on the subject. But to be clear, as Americans, and football players and other athletes are Americans, we have the right to peacefully protest. Kaepernick kneeling and players and teams kneeling, sitting, stretching or not being present at all during the Anthem is within their right because they are not hurting or doing anyone harm physically. We have to understand that.

 

(AJC)

So looking at what transpired Sunday, people say that you only really have two stances to take: For it or against it. However, in reality, you can be in the middle because there is middle ground here where both sides can be considered.

 

Making the argument for protesting in this way, there are things about the flag and the Anthem that aren’t and haven’t been fully represented by some of the people who enforce the laws in our country. People’s rights, no matter the race, are being violated every day. People’s safety are constantly in danger by few who probably aren’t qualified for their job and the amount of deaths at the hand of officers to citizens and vice versa is a direct representation of that. Therefore, when Kaepernick kneeled and other players followed suit, they are justified for that specific purpose. Never has Kaepernick or any other player, said that they were against the military or anything like that. Their stance is based on the police brutality that has occurred in recent years. To make it any more than that would be pushing the agenda and manipulating the rhetoric in the wrong way.

 

So when players protested yesterday and continue to do so, we have to realize that this isn’t happening with the intention to disrespect the country or the flag. It’s done in response to some injustices that have happened that need to be fully addressed. Again, they are well within their right to do so.

 

On the flip side, it’s also understandable as to why one would take it as an offense not to stand up and put your hand over your heart during the Anthem. The flag is THE symbol of America and represents so many things and so many different people. So to see players not doing standard procedure during the Anthem can be looked at as disrespect if you have no context. All those people who have served and are still serving our country will always be honored and celebrated for their honor and bravery. I just don’t think anybody is denying that or devaluing that when they decide to protest the Anthem.

 

To put this all into perspective, 150 of 1600 players protesting is a very small percentage, but it made a very big difference. What’s important to realize is the conversation that it has continued to put into the forefront. Now, some are mad that they did it while some are mad that every player of color didn’t kneel, but it all goes to show that this conversation needs to be continued because there’s so many different people who have so many different perspectives without any solutions to the problem.

 

To put in frankly, Trump’s comments disrespected the players when the players didn’t disrespect him. Therefore, now more than ever, they have the right to do what they’re doing because when the person who is supposed to be at the forefront of representing the flag consistently goes out of his way to alienate those who inhabit the country his is leading then how is he properly representing anything that has to do with America?

 

It’s simple when you break it down, if you don’t like what’s going on, don’t watch the pre game because the actual playing of the game has nothing to do with all of this in the end. We all have the freedom to make that decision so if you choose to watch a broadcast NFL game, then you will continue to see this until a change happen.

 

What do you make of the Protests enacted during yesterday’s games? Let’s talk about it here or find me on Twitter @Phenombc3.