Football isn’t about football anymore


49ers at Redskins 10/15/17

The National Football Association used to be strictly about football. The talk was always about strictly football games being played on the field within the sixty-minute time frame. The talk was always about winners, losers, statistics. playoffs, and Super Bowls. A different approach is now taken. Controversy struck all of football when on August 14, 2016, quarterback Colin Kaepernick was seen kneeling during the national anthem in a preseason game against the Green Bay Packers. A protest began as Kaepernick said, “ I have to stand up for the people that are oppressed”. A wild chain of events has occurred since his decision to protest, with multiple players across the association putting a knee down during “The Star-Spangled Banner”. Athletes across the country have spoken their minds about the decision with how it affects the black community, football, and America. Even President Donald Trump has expressed his opinions on the whole matter. These protest resulted in a debate about the freedom of speech. The NFL announced that if players are on the field during the national anthem, they must stand, if they are kneeling, they will be fined. An option is to stay in the locker room if they do not want to participate in the national anthem. I understand how important the national anthem is for the country and how it is used to being respected, however if a man has made a decision to not stand for the anthem, then I believe that should be respected. The association will take away a pro-player’s money (generally speaking, about $25,000 to $35,000) for standing up for his rights, and have made rules to prevent it from happening. Where is the freedom? Going into the locker room takes away freedom for all the players who chose to kneel as a form of expression. Eliminating that option silences pro ball players. The NFL has chosen to avoid controversy in this attempt to keep players removed from the political realm. Colin Kaepernick now is currently unsigned and hasn’t reached a deal all free agency. The former 49er stands in a position presently where NFL owners refuse to sign him.. He was not protesting the flag or the anthem itself. He was protesting racism, and he has inspired other player, and people all over the country, to join in. His rights were completely taken away with this new NFL policy by not being allowed to kneel at all during the national anthem. In a world where high school students enjoy the first amendment right to freedom of expression by choosing to sit during the Pledge of Allegiance, does this seem logical? Why has the pro football fields become battlefields over the first amendment?