Opinion: President Trump Vs. Peaceful Protests in the NFL


Image: Photo provided by Flickr user Gage Skidmore

Donald Trump speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C.

Connor Cable, Contributing Writer

It has been a recent trend in the National Football League for players to kneel during the National Anthem as a form of silent protest against racial inequality, police brutality, and many other things. It was all kicked off by Colin Kaepernick when he was still a member of the San Francisco 49ers.

However, while the protest was garnering plenty of interest and starting many conversations, President Donald Trump flipped everything on its head and lit a fire across the Nation, once again, with this line from his speech in Huntsville, Alabama on Friday September 22nd:

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say get that son of a b**** off the field right now, out, he’s fired. He’s fired!”

President Trump has just started a war.

Regardless of how one feels about the protest itself, Trump has just messed up once again. What started out as an act of peaceful, singular protest has been turned to a league-wide protest against the president. While players are still protesting Kaepernick’s original issue, nearly every team in the NFL showed some form of protest or show of unity in response to the President’s remarks. This is what is important: the NFL players on Sunday all protested for the right to protest.

If I were being told that I or a colleague of mine was not allowed to do my legal, peaceful protest that my place of employment has not outlawed me from doing, I would be furious. Before last Sunday, the majority of NFL players were standing for every National Anthem, while supporting their teammates whole-heartedly. After Trump’s tweets, everyone from  Jerry Jones and the other owners of the teams to Lebron James (who isn’t even in the NFL!)  has been outraged and reacted to the President on Sunday.

Everything from team-wide locked arms to not even participating in the National Anthem (remaining in the locker room) was seen on Sunday. It is certainly interesting and heartwarming to see how many people will react when being told by someone uninvolved that they cannot peacefully protest.

As for the President, I will just say this: this issue is extremely low in the list of things he should be worrying about. Frankly, this is below him in all sense of the word. I think he should be more focused on that wall that is supposedly going to be built, or the war he is dangerously close to starting with North Korea,  yet he wastes his time on protests that are, quite frankly, inciting positive change for the league and the fans that watch on Sundays.

In the end, maybe this whole debacle will add more fuel to the protests in the NFL. After all, Kaepernick’s original intention was to simply start a conversation, nothing more. Now that Trump has thrown in his two cents, it has become a frenzy for players to defend their right to protest whatever they please, regardless of their stance on kneeling during the National Anthem.

People always want to do what people say they cannot do. The most extreme example of this has just occurred, and it has backfired for President Trump almost entirely. Maybe he wanted the media to focus on something other than his failed attempts to create a good healthcare system, I am not sure. If that is the case, it certainly worked. The National Football League simply was united because of it, and it was a wonderful thing to witness.