Players have right to anthem protest

Before the Buzzer


Sports Columnist Tyler Simons

   A recent uprising in NFL news is the number of players following and supporting Colin Kaepernick’s protest of the national anthem. The specific players joining Kaepernick’s protest so far include Malcolm Jenkins, Chris Long, Michael Bennett, and Marshawn Lynch. However, a vast number of these pro athletes believe that Kaepernick’s beliefs are the reason that the former San Francisco 49ers star has yet to be signed by a NFL team. Such athletes that have vouched for Kaepernick’s skills and worthiness to be on a team include Cameron Heyward, Martellus Bennett, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith, and five time Super Bowl Champion, Tom Brady.

   On Sunday, Sept. 24th, several players, and even entire teams exercised their right to protest. Teams such as the Dallas Cowboys and the Arizona Cardinals locked arms during the anthem, while the entire Pittsburgh Steelers roster remained in the locker room during it’s playing, aside from former U.S. Army officer and member of the elite Rangers, Alejandro Villanueva. This recent outcoming of protesting has resurfaced the debate on whether or not these athletes should be acting in such a way toward the flag. However, it wasn’t until 2009 that the NFL itself forced the players to be present on the field during the playing of the anthem.  

   In my opinion, although a vast majority may not agree, Colin Kaepernick has every right to express the way he feels about the national anthem and to protest the way that the United States has been treating African Americans. His beliefs shouldn’t be what makes teams uninterested in him, as many current players state that he is better than some of the NFL’s starting quarterbacks.

   The argument against Kaepernick is that he should stick to football and have respect for the nation’s anthem and flag. That being said, the platform and position that Kaepernick is in gives him the ability to bring the mistreatment of the black community further into the public eye, and he has also pledged to donate one million dollars to organizations working in oppressed communities.

   Athletes have a tremendous impact on the public, with young people and adults alike checking in and keeping up with the sports world every day  Standing out against the wrong-doings in the world is more effective when it comes from someone with a position of authority.