Keep kneeling

Published 10:13 pm Thursday, May 24, 2018

The National Football League this week approved new rules that will fine players if they kneel or do not stand during the National Anthem.

Ludicrous.

To make it seem better, the players have the option to stay in the locker room during the anthem as a form of “protest.”

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These new rules are due to the number players following in Colin Kaepernick’s footsteps by kneeling or sitting during the National Anthem. Kaepernick, formerly the San Francisco 49ers quarterback, began sitting and kneeling during the anthem in the 2016 season to protest police violence against black people.

Kaepernick’s protest was because he didn’t want to “stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” he stated in an NFL interview in 2016.

Naturally, right-wing conservatives decided this was unacceptable and began attempting to tear him down in the media and on social media outlets, saying it was disrespectful and unpatriotic.

Taking a knee during the anthem is not disrespectful; it’s demanding more from your country. No one is going to “make America great again” by forcing people into compliance. That’s not the freedom this country was supposed to be built on.

Exercising your constitutional right to protest is the most American thing you can do.

I’ve seen time and time again that they should shut up and play football, because that is what they get paid to do, but being paid to do a job doesn’t take away your right to use your platform and fame to spread the right message.

That message, in this case, is ending police brutality against people of color.

This new rule is shameful and hinders free speech and the right to protest. The First Amendment gives all Americans the right to exercise their free speech.

So, if the president can call groups of non-white people “animals,” mock the disabled and tweet as freely as he wants, then I don’t see why football players can’t kneel.

Being the president is his job, just like playing football is their job, and they both have the right to free speech because of the Constitution.

I hope that these football players continue to protest and fight for what is right — a better criminal justice system, ending police brutality and giving non-white people the equality they deserve.