Football fields or forums?


Action Images via Reuters

New Orleans Saints players take the knee before the start of the national anthem Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs

Recently, football fields have become political forums largely due to President Donald Trump sending out Twitter posts criticizing players kneeling during the National Anthem in protest of police brutality.

This kneeling protest began last year when 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick got nation-wide coverage for not standing during the National Anthem. He claims his motivation was racial inequality in the United States.

Unlike Trump, former President Barack Obama kept a fairly unbiased position on the kneeling controversy.

“I want Mr. Kaepernick and others who are on a knee, I want them to listen to the pain that that may cause somebody who, for example, had a spouse or a child who was killed in combat and why it hurts them to see somebody not standing. But I also want people to think about the pain he may be expressing about somebody who’s lost a loved one that they think was unfairly shot,” Obama said during a CNN town hall event.

On social media, President Trump clearly voiced his opinion on the subject.

“The issue of kneeling has nothing to do with race. It is about respect for our country, flag and National Anthem. NFL must respect this!” tweeted Trump. “Sports fans should never condone players that do not stand proud for their National Anthem or their Country. NFL should change policy!”

People across the nation have different opinions on the controversy. Junior Zach Estabrook feels strongly that everyone should stand for the National Anthem.

“I think the players that kneel during the [National] Anthem are disrespecting our flag and the men and women that fight for our country and our right to wake up free every day,” said Estabrook. “I think it’s wrong and they should find a different way to protest.”

In contrast, senior Jordan Elmaleh sees the protest from a different perspective.

“It’s the First Ammendment, and we have the right to protest. My uncle was murdered by a police officer. I know what that oppression feels like,” said Elmaleh. “I see it from all points of view. Some of my family members were veterans. They fought for our freedom to be able to protest.”