Taking a Kneel: When Expression Leads To Controversy

How Colin Kaepernick created a Political Whirlpool in the NFL

Chistian Touhey, Politics Editor

The National Football League (NFL) season has gotten off to a controversial start after President Donald Trump bashed players in recent games for kneeling in protest during the National Anthem.

The Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots, and San Francisco 49ers are some of the NFL teams who represented America in a new way by failing to acknowledge the national anthem. Some players from the Seattle Seahawks chose to stay in the locker room, while almost 30 49er’s took a knee. Most were met with booing from fans.

Former 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick was the first to challenge police brutality among other political issues in America by taking a knee during the  national anthem on August 14th, 2016.

When asked about his initial desire to start this trend, Kaepernick told NFL Media, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”

Colin Kaepernick lost his contract for the 49ers the season after kneeling during the national anthem, and still remains a free agent. His lack of employment continues to cause debate about whether kneeling for the national anthem is the right way to express the First Amendment.

Woodside football players feel that NFL athletes shouldn’t face criticism for kneeling during the anthem, let alone lose their jobs. Chris Brugger, a senior varsity athlete, thinks the NFL should respect America, but in their own way.

“It’s kind of funny to think that the U.S. Department Of Defense pays the NFL to have their players stand during the national anthem,” Brugger told the Woodside World. “That’s like forcing someone to apologize; it’s not authentic at all.”

Donald Trump vented his thoughts on the matter on Twitter, saying that any athlete who won’t stand for the national anthem should be fired without question. He also mentioned low viewership for the NFL Network were a result of these protests.

Very important that NFL players STAND tomorrow, and always, for the playing of our National Anthem. Respect our Flag and our Country!,” Trump tweeted on September 30th.