The Conflicts NFL Protesting Creates, and What Can Be Done To Resolve Them

Colin Kaepernick,  who plays the position of quarterback for the 49ers, started the NFL protests when he refused to stand during the National Anthem  during a preseason game in 2016.

Colin Kaepernick, who plays the position of quarterback for the 49ers, started the NFL protests when he refused to stand during the National Anthem during a preseason game in 2016.

Rhys Levine, Staff Reporter

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   The National Football League, one of the largest professional sports associations in the world, has recently faced criticism for players kneeling, sitting, or standing and locking arms during the national anthem. What began as a one-man protest against notable incidents of police brutality has swiftly evolved into one of the decade’s most controversial movements.

   In 2016, then San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began sitting on the bench during the ceremonial pre-game performance of the Star-Spangled Banner. However, Kaepernick’s actions did not raise any attention until Week 3 of the NFL Preseason, according to a statement to the New York Times from former teammate Eric Reid.

   Following the massive exposure of the situation created by various news-media platforms, other athletes began to follow Kaepernick’s lead, including Pro-Bowl wide receiver Mike Evans.

   “The men and women who serve this country, I’m forever indebted to them. But the things that are going on in America, I’m not going to stand for that,” said Evans.

   However, certain athletes and everyday citizens protested against what they felt was an unpatriotic display. Former NFL player and current NFL analyst Boomer Esiason labeled kneeling during the national anthem “an embarrassment,” and called Kaepernick’s actions in particular “about as disrespectful as any player has ever been.”

   Frankly, that’s what makes these protests so significant: the division they have caused. As history so clearly indicates, a divided America very rarely becomes reunited through peaceful protest alone, especially concerning issues that many believe to be rooted in race.

   An issue such as this can not and will not solve itself without cooperation from individuals on both sides of the argument. Trading insults and attempting to undermine opposing viewpoints, while perhaps the easiest method to try to prove one’s point, will not help in the long term. By doing so, we simply stir outrage and create an endless cycle of anger. So, while it may take more time and prove to be more difficult, coming to peace with this highly controversial issue will require collaboration, and, above all, togetherness.

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