NFL Anthem Protests: A Divisive National and Pine Crest Debate


Some members of the Washington Redskins kneel before a game with the Oakland Raiders in September, 2017. (via Keith Allison  [CC BY-SA 2.0])

One of the hottest topics in football right now has nothing to do with what happens during the game. Before every game, the national anthem is performed, and in the NFL,  several players have been protesting police brutality during these performances.  Some kneel, some hold a fist in the air, and LeSean McCoy, running back for the Buffalo Bills, even continued stretching during the anthem. The national anthem protests have been extremely controversial, and people throughout the country have been weighing in on this issue.

One of the most controversial responses came from the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, who stated that players kneeling during the national anthem should be kicked off the field and promptly fired.  President Trump’s reaction to the protests only triggered the spread of the protests to even more players in the NFL. Several teams responded by having coaches and even owners  go out and protest with their players. The Pittsburgh Steelers and Seattle Seahawks even stayed in the locker room during the anthem last week. 

Some Pine Crest student-athletes have a strong opinion on kneeling during the national anthem, such as junior Jeremy Oletsky, a member of the Pine Crest football team.  “While I respect the athletes standing (or kneeling) for a cause, I feel like there are better ways to protest the police brutality than disrespecting the flag and this great country as a whole,” said Oletsky.  

There are, however, several students at Pine Crest who support the protests. Senior Rachel Bell says, “Often when minority groups protest, they are accused of being ‘too loud’, ‘too aggressive’, or ‘too violent’; kneeling is none of these things…, it is a respectful and even understated way of asking for an end to police brutality and racism.”

This clearly remains a divisive issue within Pine Crest and throughout the country.  Hopefully, discussions over these protests can remain civil allowing for a respectful debate.

Source: New York Times

Photo Source: Keith Allison  [CC BY-SA 2.0]