Recently many players in the NFL have made the choice to protest inequality by not standing for the National Anthem before games.
It is normalized by society to stand when the National Anthem comes on. As an athlete in the National Football League you are pushed into the spotlight on prime time TV, so when athletes make the choice to not come out of the locker rooms or to sit during the pledge it is bound to spark debate. Regardless, the First Amendment can be a tricky subject in situations such as this one.
As professional athletes you are not necessarily protected 100 percent by the First Amendment considering the athletes are part of a private company, the NFL in this scenario, so anything they do can be a punishable offense. The first sentence of the First Amendment states, “Congress shall make no law…” This excludes any privately contracted company like the NFL. Really, nothing can be done to a professional athlete. However, teams don’t have to give a certain player a contract if they do not like the actions the player partakes in on the turf. A prime example of this would be the case of Colin Kaepernick.
Now more than ever, protests are happening all over the nation during any game of the week.
President Donald Trump spoke out in many ways about the kneeling/sitting protests during games. Trump recently sent out a tweet denouncing the protests.
“Great solidarity for our Nation Anthem and for our Country. Standing with locked arm is good, kneeling is not acceptable. Bad ratings!” read the tweet.
Trump also spoke out during a campaign trip to Alabama. He told the public it is unpatriotic and NFL team owners should fire those individuals refusing to stand or even come out of the locker room in protest.
The following Sunday roughly 200 players sat, knelt and raised their fists in defiance during the anthem.
This starts to make Americans wonder if Trump ended up stirring the pot rather than calming things down.
Another aspect of this outbreak is patriotic fans deciding not to watch games, burn jerseys and not come to games. As fans of the great American sport we should not protest the game itself on account of a few athletes’ actions most fans may not believe in.
In hindsight, can you really tell one person to do something just because society believes it’s morally right?
The answer should be no. It angers many football fans to see athletes disrespecting the rights by protesting during the National anthem but at the end of the day fans all have one thing in com-mon- a love of football.
Marisa Lloyd can be reached at email@example.com