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Anthem Protests

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Anthem Protests

Photo: Keith Allison Source Licence

Photo: Keith Allison Source Licence

Photo: Keith Allison Source Licence

Jack Helmanis, Staff Writer

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Usually in football a quarterback taking a knee is a good thing because their team is about to win. However, these past two years tell a different story. In the 2016 NFL preseason, Colin Kaepernick, former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, kneeled during the national anthem. This was the first time in the history of the NFL that anyone had knelt for the anthem, and soon many other players joined him. This infuriated many fans, causing them to stop watching football, and it was considered the main reason for the decline in viewership of NFL games.  Several weeks ago, Donald Trump made some comments that cannot be repeated on a school newspaper, about how he wishes the owners would just fire players that kneel during the national anthem. These comments single handedly revitalized the protest and added new flame to the fire. More players, including Tom Brady, who voted for Trump in the general election, protested the National anthem in their own way. Some teams, like the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans, simply didn’t come out for the anthem, with the exception of the tackle on the Pittsburgh Steelers, Alejandro Villanueva. Fun Fact of the day- the next week, according to the NFL shop, Alejandro Villanueva jerseys were the number one jersey purchased. Fans continued to rage when, in week 5, Vice President Mike Pence went to the Colts vs. 49ers game and left after the anthem, tweeting that “I left today’s Colts game because @POTUS and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our flag, or our national anthem.” Although everyone had protested the week after Trump’s comments, every team has had more players stand for the anthem since. The Steelers players all stood for the anthem after not come out at first;  other whole team demonstrations are also done.

 

Personally, I was upset when Colin Kaepernick knelt because I thought it was a publicity stunt. This because he was going to be a 114-million-dollar backup quarterback to Blaine Gabbert. Blaine Gabbert has a total of 37 interceptions to only 38 touch downs and 7,351 yards in his career. In my opinion, one would have to be very bad to lose a starting position to Gabbert. But then Kaepernick demanded a release from the 49ers to hit free agency. Not even the Seattle Seahawks, who were in need of a backup quarterback and who have one of the most liberal fan bases, gave him a contract. Then, when the official report came out citing the anthem protests being the number one reason for viewer decline, I thought the NFL was blackballing Kaepernick in an attempt to save face and the business.

 

With these new protests I realize I do not have any great feelings about how they are being done. If they had some type of impact on the players’ abilities perhaps then I would be more inclined to have stronger feelings about it. As a fan of football I just want to see my team go out and play. But I do support the players’ right to protest and I support why they are protesting. No one should have to fear the police.  

 

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