The Ranch Review

NFL Kneeling Influencing Students and Players

Cristina Sandoval, Staff Reporter

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On Sept. 24, 2017, around 25 professional NFL players from the Jacksonville Jaguars and Baltimore Ravens took a knee during the national anthem.

This soon affected some high schools as their players followed the NFL’s example and faced suspension or expulsion.

Back in September, arguments immediately broke out as the NFL players took a knee and people claimed these players were disrespecting our flag and the military.

These players did not take a knee to be disrespectful to anyone, especially not the military.

These players took a knee to bring attention to the social and racial injustice minorities, especially African-American, are facing.

However, this is not the first time a professional NFL player refused to stand during the Pledge of Allegiance.

This actually started in August 2016, Colin Kaepernick, the quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers at the time, sat on the bench when the national anthem started playing.

For the first two games, Kaepernick’s sitting during the anthem went unnoticed. It wasn’t until a photo was taken of him and he was met with anger from fans and resulted in him getting fired.

According to SBNation.com, “Kaepernick told the media he chose to sit to protest the oppression of people of color in the United States and ongoing issues with police brutality.”

Fast forwarding to September 2017, Donald Trump reacted furiously over the kneeling of the NFL players and responded with a violent tweet on Twitter that stated,” If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend!”

This resulted in heated outbursts from people all across America and fought Trump on the fact that he was prohibiting their free speech.

Trump was then attacked on the fact that he was “inflaming racial tensions by criticizing protesting players who are almost all black,” according to The Guardian.

In return, Trump posted yet another tweet that said,” This has nothing to do with race. I never said anything about race. This has nothing to do with race or anything else. This has to do with respect for our country and respect for our flag.”

Almost a month later and high school players across the country are also expressing their right to free speech by kneeling during the national anthem.

Like the NFL players, these high schoolers are trying to “bring social awareness to senseless police brutality and social, educational and economic oppression,” according to TheShadowLeague.com

For instance, over in Greenville, Mississippi, 4 high school players were kicked off their high school football team for taking a knee during the national anthem of one of their football games.

Parents and students were furious and the event even caught the attention of the Senator of Mississippi.

“I am totally outraged that these students have been suspended for exercising their right to peacefully protest their beliefs and make a statement through a gesture that has long been practiced in many sports across this country,” said State Senator Derrick Simmons, according to The Shadow League, blasting the suspensions.

The school later defended itself after being under fire Oct. 13 “It was just one player who was suspended and it was for reasons that have nothing to do with kneeling during the anthem,” said the head coach of the football team for the school, Charles Moore.

“‘No players were suspended for kneeling during the national anthem,’ said Moore,” according to the Shadow League.

These players are now back on the team but people are still angry and saying “they should have never been suspended in the first place.”

Even though this is over, it still showed how Colin’s protest has escalated into an event much bigger and that a change needs to be made or else these protests will keep happening and people will still be unhappy and treated unfairly.

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NFL Kneeling Influencing Students and Players