Opinion: Justice in the NFL sparks controversy

Does kneeling insult our flag? Does it signify non-patriotism? Does it show how little we respect and care for those who have previously fought and are currently fighting for our freedom? These are all questions both sides of the table are trying to answer. The NFL has been a big center of attention this season, filled with controversy and disagreements on if kneeling is correct. And if so, should it be allowed in the NFL? All can agree that it starts off with Colin Kaepernick, a well known quarterback who last played in the NFL for the San Francisco 49ers. “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick stated last season. At the time, Kaepernick kneeled alone in these national anthem protests of the 49ers preseason games, starting August 14th, 2016. Many fans were disgusted, who were burning his jersey, even considering not supporting the team if they continued to allow his actions. It was only after Kaepernick’s third preseason game that season, that fans really started to pick up on him not standing for the anthem, three games in a row. He met with the media 2 days after the game, where he opened up his motives on a larger and broader scale. On September 1st, 2016, Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem, but was joined by his teammate Eric Reid, a safety. Reid was seen expressing support to Kaepernick before the game as well. From that point on, football players just kept piling on the bandwagon of kneeling, until it became the thing to do this season, meaning if you stood up while the rest of your team kneeled or wasn’t present for the anthem, you would be given a harsh time by your teammates after the game, such as the story of former Army Ranger and current Pittsburgh Steeler Alejandro Villanueva, who stood outside the Pittsburgh football stadium tunnel with his hand over his heart while his teammates were in the tunnel waiting for the anthem to end. Kaepernick originally stated that the kneeling had nothing to do with the disrespect of the soldiers who have fought for us, he was just speaking for those who don’t really have a say, due to the fact he’s at a social position to make a change, creating justice for ALL people, according to him. Almost every sport nowadays will have at least one person kneeling or sitting, promoting the motive.

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