Athletes Should be Allowed to Protest Freely

Aliyu Saadu, Staff Writer

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Do you believe in standing for the National Anthem? How about holding your hand over your heart when you hear the anthem begin to play?

The topic of how people respond to the National Anthem has taken on a serious tone over the last few weeks as several high profile athletes – most notably San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick – have taken to sitting or kneeling during the anthem before their games in protest.

In addition to Kaepernick, there have been other notable athletes who have followed his lead including U.S. soccer star Megan Rapinoe, who has taken to kneeling down during the anthem before Seattle Reign games. Also, San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid knelt down with Kaepernick in a preseason game against the San Diego Chargers and Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall knelt in his team’s season opener against the Carolina Panthers.

While he has definitely gotten some support for taking a seat (or a knee) to protest the police killings of black men and social injustice, Kaepernick has also faced quite a bit of criticism from the sports world and the general public.  One sports figure who has spoken out against the act of not standing for the anthem is United States World Cup of Hockey head coach John Tortorella, who said recently that if one of his players sits while the National Anthem is playing, they will sit the entire game

My original thought about this topic of not standing for the National Anthem is that no matter whether you are an a athlete, a fan, a referee, or cameraman or woman, you should stand. I felt that it is disrespectful to sit for the National Anthem. However, over the past couple of weeks I have changed my opinion because there have been so many athletes who have decided to take action as well. To me, these athletes are protesting in the name of people who have been and continue to be negatively-affected, so I don’t have a problem with it anymore.

Athletes – and all people – have a right to protest even if others don’t agree with them.

People have no right to talk badly about someone who protests as it is none of their concern. An example of someone jumping into it when he should not have is NFL Today on CBS analyst Boomer Esiason, who criticized Kaepernick and said that, by not standing for the anthem, he was “a disgrace.”

This kind of name-calling is wrong because no one – especially a guy like Boomer Esiason – has the right to question a man’s personal protest. That is just flat out wrong.

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees also criticized Kaepernick’s stance by saying that he disagrees with the method by which he chose to protest. Brees – like Esiason – has no right to talk badly about someone because he does not have the same stance as him on topics he feels are important. Brees needs to keep his mouth shut and watch what he says.

Athletes should have a right to protest because it is their right – like all Americans – to protest and no one can take that away from them. This issue of not standing for the National Anthem has become big news lately because so many have an opinion about what Colin Kaepernick did. All of this discussion about him and others who have chosen to protest the anthem is good for us, actually, because it forces us to more closely look at what the man has to say.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Athletes Should be Allowed to Protest Freely”

  1. S on November 29th, 2017 10:14 AM

    You state that Drew Brees does not have the right to talk badly abut it. However he is using his first amendment right just like Kap was using his.

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