More than one year after former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeled during the national anthem in silent protest, a surge of professional athletes took a knee before standing and locking arms during the “The Star-Spangled Banner” on Sunday.
President Trump called for NFL players who have participated in the ‘take a knee’ protest to be fired during a rally for Alabama Republican Senate candidate Luther Strange on Friday. According to an article by CNN, he told NFL owners to respond to players who kneeled by saying, “Get that son of a b**** off the field right now, he’s fired. He’s fired!”
Trump’s latest speech is just following in his “political custom,” Kevin Escobar, junior in civil engineering, said.
“Trump went out of line,” Escobar said, “but at the same time, I don’t think that Trump has ever presented himself as the most united person with everyone in America. He takes a pretty far stance on one side of every issue, and it doesn’t leave a lot of room for discussion.”
Kara Bamberger, sophomore in biology, said simply stating support for an issue is not disrespectful at all.
“I think Trump’s response was really insensitive,” Bamberger said. “That protest is not something that should cost people their jobs just because Trump has a different opinion. It just seems very childish and unprofessional.”
“They are basically disrespecting those who fight every day in the armed forces and those who have given their lives to defend those kneeling to have the right to do so,” Cook said. “I don’t respect the idea of people kneeling during the national anthem to protest. I’m all for protest and freedom of speech, but protesting should not be done during the anthem.”
There is a time and a place to take a stand, and NFL games aren’t the best place, Cook said.
“I think that they are doing it at the wrong venue,” Cook said. “People don’t tune into sports to view politics’ issues. They do it to take their mind off the worries of the world for a while.”
Escobar said he believes the show of solidarity by players and team owners is a great use of the platform available to them.
“NFL games are some of the biggest watch events on Sundays, so if anyone is going to make a change, it’s famous people who are watched and admired by fans,” Escobar said.
Yahoo Sports dubbed the wave of declaration “Protest Sunday,” stating the politics overshadowed the games themselves.