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These sports protests are out of hand

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Matthew Polek, Sports Editor

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The protests started in 2016 when Colin Kaepernick refused to stand during the playing of the national anthem before a preseason game.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” said Kaepernick in an exclusive interview with NFL media after the game. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

From that game forward Kaepernick continued to kneel during the anthem. Other players began to join Kaepernick, such as Brandon Marshall, Arian Foster, and Martellus Bennett were just some of the protesters.

Colin Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the 49ers and has yet to be signed to a new team.

On Friday September 22 President Trump was giving a speech in Huntsville, Alabama and he spoke his mind about kneeling during the anthem as a protest.

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these N.F.L. owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a b***h off the field right now, out, he’s fired’”

These comments not only didn’t sit well with NFL players, but Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors wasn’t happy either.

Championship winning teams have been visiting the White House for quite some time. The first World Series winning team is believed to be the 1924 Washington Senators, who visited Calvin Coolidge at the executive residence.

In January of 1963 JFK became the first president to welcome the NBA champions to the White House when he invited the Boston Celtics.

In 1980 Jimmy Carter held a dual ceremony for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Steelers, making the Steelers the first Super Bowl winners to get the invite.

Although those teams got the invite, it wasn’t until Ronald Reagan took office, that all championship teams annually got an invite to the White House.

Since President Trump took office in January there have been 4 championship teams. The Super Bowl winning New England Patriots visited the new President on April 19th.

The 2017 NCAA champion North Carolina Tar Heels have announced they will not visit the White House. A team’s spokesman announced in a statement that the reason is because the two parties couldn’t find a date that worked for both of them.

The Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins announced that they will be visiting the White House.

“It’s a great honor to be invited there,” said Penguins’ superstar Sidney Crosby in an interview with ESPN.

Lastly, the 2017 NBA champion Golden State Warriors will not be visiting the White House. Superstar Steph Curry was hesitant about going to the White House with the Trump administration there.

Curry said that the Warriors could make a statement by choosing to not got to the White House.

Trump responded to Curry with a tweet reading, “Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team.Stephen Curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn!”

These events threw together politics and sports in no way seen before.

This didn’t sit well with the NFL players either. On Sunday September 24th they responded. The Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars played in London on Sunday. Over a dozen players knelt for the U.S national anthem, then all stood for the U.K anthem.

Joke, absolute joke, they can stay in London if they have such a problem with our great country.

These protests continued throughout the day. Some players, knelt, raised fists, some locked arms. President Trump took to twitter to share his thoughts.

“Great solidarity for our National Anthem and for our Country. Standing with locked arms is good, kneeling is not acceptable. Bad ratings!”

Three teams didn’t even come to the field for the anthem. The Seattle Seahawks, Tennessee Titans, and Pittsburgh Steelers, stayed in their locker rooms. Except for one Steeler who made the trip to the tunnel for the anthem. That was West Point graduate and Army veteran Alejandro Villanueva.

Since then Villanueva has apologized for not offering his teammates the chance to stand with them, but why should he have to apologize?

Villanueva has served 3 tours in Iraq totalling 20 months, he shouldn’t have to explain himself for honoring our flag.

“..it happens all the time, people die for the flag. There’s no way else to put it,” said Villanueva during a press conference, “When I see a flag of a mission on the shoulder of a soldier that reminds me that that guy’s with me. It reminds me that I have to fight and lay my life down for him. Whether it’s in my unit, whether it’s Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard it doesn’t matter. You’re going to have a flag on your shoulder, I’m going to identify that, and we’re fighting for each other. So that’s what the flag means to me, that’s what the flag means to a lot of veterans.”  

“It shows disrespect to people that fought for our country and died for our country,” said James DeBisschop, Corps Commander of AFJROTC at Naugatuck High School on the topic of players kneeling as a form of protesting. “There are better ways to do this than to publicly disrespect the flag like they’re doing.”

In the 24 hours following the national anthem being played for the Steelers, Bears game, Alejandro Villanueva’s jersey was the best selling jersey in the NFL.

Since then NASCAR has also come out and said that they will fire anyone who doesn’t stand up for the anthem.

“Anybody that don’t stand up for that ought to be out of the country. Period,” said team owner and retired driver Richard Petty at the ISM Connect 300 in New Hampshire. “If they don’t appreciate where they’re at … what got them where they’re at? The United States.”

It’s that simple. All these uneducated ignorant football players kneeling for our anthem as a protest? Pathetic. If they have such a problem with who’s in charge, they can leave.

President Trump may be controversial, but at the end of the day he is the president. Everyone talks about coming together but these players kneeling and not wanting to go to the White House because of him is the exact opposite.

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3 Comments

3 Responses to “These sports protests are out of hand”

  1. Mrs. Saam on October 3rd, 2017 1:29 pm

    You tacked a very controversial issue. This NFL has been drawing a lot of ire from people lately and they’ve had to respond to the fans who are not happy with the kneeling. I don’t think the NFL expected all the negative fan reaction.

    [Reply]

  2. Skyler Pawlowski on October 6th, 2017 9:52 am

    This whole article is opinion based. If you’re going to report on something like this, I think you need to make it with less of your opinions. At the end of the day, let those people kneel. It’s their right not to respect the flag.

    [Reply]

    adviser Reply:

    Hello Skyler,
    I just wanted to mention that this piece, written by a student, is an Op-Ed. It is an opinion based article. Thank you for supporting our newspaper.

    Mrs. Dymond
    Journalism Adviser

    [Reply]

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




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These sports protests are out of hand