President Trump vs. the NFL


Megan Kelliher

Pictured: An illustration of Colin Kaepernick's statement about kneeling.

Cyrus Singh, Contributing Writer

President Donald Trump added more fuel to the fire with his comments on athletes not standing up for the national anthem. As a result, on Sunday, September 24th, a day controlled by football all across America, NFL players throughout the league took action by either taking a knee or otherwise not participating during the national anthem.

During a press conference in Huntsville, Alabama, President Trump stated, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, get that son-of-a-[expletive] off the field right now, out. He’s fired.” These were his remarks on what should have happened to NFL players that took a knee during the national anthem.

Corey Burgman, a senior at CRLS and a football fan responded to Trump’s comments, saying, “He’s a [expletive] idiot because Americans should be able to protest, it’s their right. Also, the language he used as the president was inappropriate.”

Due to Trump’s comments in Alabama on a Friday, the following Sunday many players and teams decided not to back down. Members of the Washington Redskins knelt and held hands during the national anthem before playing the Oakland Raiders. Earlier in the day, the Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans played each other in Nashville, and both teams ended up staying in the locker room while the national anthem was sung. The Seahawks made a statement on why they chose to not come out, citing “the injustice in the country that has plagued the people of color.”

They’re standing up for what they believe in, with all the oppression going on in this country. It doesn’t bother me.”

— Tyler Martinez '18

Senior CRLS student Tyler Martinez, a sports fan, had this to say about protest by players in the NFL: “They’re standing up for what they believe in, with all the oppression going on in this country. It doesn’t bother me.”

Around nine hours into the games that Sunday, Trump used Twitter once again to voice his thoughts on players not standing for the anthem. At 6:25 PM he tweeted, “Sports fans should never condone players that do not stand proud for their National Anthem or their Country. NFL should change policy!” That was his twelfth sports-related tweet in a 36-hour period.

Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who first took a knee during the national anthem last year, made this statement to the NFL media in August 2016: “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”

Senior and starting cornerback for the CRLS football team, Shaundell Fields, took a knee with a couple of his teammates at their week four game against Waltham on September 28th. Fields explained his reason behind kneeling, saying, “I refuse to show pride in a flag or country that oppresses black people or people of color.”

Fields went on to refute the issue that many Americans take with kneeling for the anthem, explaining, “This has nothing to do with taking away respect for people in the military or who have served in it. I have much respect and gratitude for them.”

With months left in the NFL season this year, only time will tell how the president and players in the NFL continue to react to this ongoing national controversy.

This piece also appears in our October print edition.