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The History of the NFL Kneel

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The History of the NFL Kneel

Ari F., Writer

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By Ari F., Grade 6

On October 17, 2018, the NFL (The National Football League) took a “knee” on their national anthem policy. This offseason, the NFL owners started a policy that there is punishment for protesting during the national anthem before the game called the national anthem policy. It was on and off for a long time. There has been a long history of protesting during the national anthem before games. In 2016, many NFL players starting protesting social and racial inequalities. Many players, such as Carolina Panthers Eric Reid and ex- 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick have knelt during the national anthem to show how they feel. In 2016, there were many African-American people being killed by police for no reason. “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said. Kaepernick’s protests sparked many other professional players to stand up for what they believe in. Players such as Brandon Marshall of the Denver Broncos, Megan Rapinoe of the United States Women’s National Soccer Team, and Seahawks cornerback, Jeremy Lane all knelt before games. Colin Kaepernick became a star, not because of his game, but because of his words.

 

On September 24, 2017, about 200 players knelt because of a tweet by President Donald Trump. He said that all players protesting should be fired. Later that year, he said at a rally in Alabama, “Get [him] off the field right now, out, he’s fired. He’s fired!” in response to players kneeling during the “Star Spangled Banner”. Before a game in the 2017 season, the Seattle Seahawks and the Tennessee Titans were not on the field during the national anthem. The list goes on of players locking arms, kneeling, and protesting injustice. Donald Trump had played a big part in influencing NFL players. His targeted tweets about NFL players has sparked many players, including Golden State Warriors star guard Stephen Curry, to speak up against him.

 

Between protests about injustice towards black Americans, and the president getting mixed up with the NFL, NFL ratings fell 9.7% in 2017. Based on this drop, the NFL made the “anthem policy”. Since the punishments were harsh, the NFL coaches thought players would not protest any longer. With fewer protests, the NFL would make more money. When the NFL couldn’t agree about whether to take down the policy or keep it up, they decided to take it down. Some people think that the owners took down the policy to make more money. Others believe that the owners did it to stop their players from being discriminated by President Trump. After two years of back and forth between players, coaches, owners and even the president, the decision has finally been made. There is no policy against protesting for the anthem, but in the future, there could be.


Edited by Michael S., Grade 8

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