Anthem protests causing controversy

Written by Dawson Eastes // sports writer

 

The NFL has been involved in controversy lately as some players have begun to take a knee during our nation’s national anthem.

 

Colin Kaepernick, former starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers first began taking a knee while the anthem was being played during the 2016 NFL preseason.

NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick said, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”

 

Kyle Ralph, head coach of the New Palestine Dragons’ football team expressed his opinion on the Kaepernick’s first silent protest.

 

Ralph said, “It was kind of surprising because it was the first time someone did that so publicly. It was kind of shocking. I think a lot of people were like what’s his statement and what’s going on.”

 

Since Kaepernick first began kneeling during the national anthem, the silent protest has spread to hundreds of players across the NFL and other sports leagues such as the MLB.

 

The protests have even gotten a big reaction from the President of the United States of America, Donald Trump.

 

Trump has never hesitated to say or tweet what is on his mind, but his recent tweets containing anti-NFL have caused controversy among NFL players and other professional athletes.

 

Some of Trump’s tweets include:
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Although Trump may disagree with the NFL players who choose to kneel, anyone who lives in the United States of America has the right to freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly and petition.

 

Ralph said, “One of the great parts about this country is you have the right of free speech and freedom of expression. This has become an opportunity on a large stage and platform to protest.”

 

While the players do have the right resist standing during the national anthem, Ralph believes they should use their platform to bring unity and positive energy towards the subject.

 

“The great part about this country is that you have the right to free speech, but you can choose to use that in a positive or negative way,” Ralph said. “ I think we are starting to lose sight of what all of this stuff actually means. When you use that first amendment right, you need to use that to unify people, not divide people.”

While everyone has a differing opinion on this “touchy” subject, we all have a responsibility as humans to respect others opinions and try to bring people together, no matter what issue is trying to divide us.

Ralph believes young people need to realize that they have an opportunity to unite others.
Ralph said, “I told my team about how as young people, they have a lot of power, whether they realize it or not. When you choose to say something online or right on a poster, that comes with a lot of responsibility. That responsibility should bring people together not tear people apart. Everyone has the responsibility to do things to bring us together, not bring us apart.”

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