GRAPHIC BY YING YANG
By CAROL LI
As president of the United States, Donald Trump has publicly shared his opinions about many controversial issues. However, sports has been left untouched by Trump…until now.
Football players are kneeling during the national anthem at their games to protest the violation of human rights of African Americans. During a speech on Sept. 22, Trump called on owners of the National Football League (NFL) to fire players who kneel during the national anthem. Also, he wrote on Twitter that, if players want to earn millions in the NFL, they should not disrespect the American flag. Although Trump’s criticisms of others and harsh judgement may be dividing the nation, it has ultimately united NFL players.
Immediately after being attacked by Trump, the football players had support from NFL athletes and officials. For instance, on Sept. 24, several NFL presidents linked arms with their team on the field to protest against Trump. When Trump continued his attack on Twitter, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell released a statement that called Trump’s remarks divisive because it demonstrated a lack of respect for players’ opinions. This shows that Goodell is not going to fire players who protest, despite Trump’s opinion.
Furthermore, after Trump repeatedly criticized NFL players, the public also came together in support. For example, John Middlemas, a ninety-seven year old World War II veteran, kneeled with players on Sep 24. Consequently, on Twitter, more than three million users have used the hashtag #TakeAKnee and #TakeTheKnee to show their support for football players. Thus, the public’s positive response shows that the fb players’ opinion represents the public opinion.
However, not everyone supports their cause. When the football players knelt during games, there were boos heard in the stands. In addition, the Remington Research Group conducted a public poll that stated 64% disapproved of the NFL players’ actions which means that the majority of people agree that it is disrespectful to kneel because it shows a lack of honor to the people who died for the flag. This is shocking because Trump’s response to the NFL’s protest goes against the First Amendment, which protects an individual’s freedom of speech and assembly.
In conclusion, it is true that there is always some good in bad situations, such as when Trump’s negative comments unified the football industry. As a result, people should realize that it is okay to stand up for what they believe in because it opens the door to new perspectives and universal acceptance.