EDITORIAL: As the NFL season approaches, anthem protests remain in headlines

EDITORIAL: As the NFL season approaches, anthem protests remain in headlines



Another NFL season is on the horizon, and to the chagrin of league leaders, national anthem protests remain in the headlines.

A quick refresher:

In 2016, Colin Kaepernick, then a back-up quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, began taking a knee during the national anthem to draw attention to social injustice in the U.S.

Other players followed his lead, and last season, even with Kaepernick out of the NFL, the protests continued.

While many Americans are OK with the silent protests, viewing them as a First Amendment right, others find them to be disrespectful; President Donald Trump among them.

At a rally last September, the President said NFL owners should respond to this act of civil disobedience by saying, “Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, he's fired. He's fired!”

And earlier this summer, Trump stated that the protesters don't “have a real issue.”

Looking to quell the heated national anthem protest debate before the start of the 2018 season, back in May, NFL owners approved a policy that would allow players to protest by staying in the locker room, but would forbid them from sitting or taking a knee if they're on the field.

League Commissioner Roger Goodell called the policy a compromise, but not everyone was impressed.

The head of the NFL Players Association denounced the policy and called it a blow against America’s most basic of rights — freedom of speech.

Meanwhile, the owner of the New York Jets and the owner of the New York Giants said they would not punish players who protest in full view of fans, regardless of what the league policy is.

Now, it appears Goodell’s compromise plan may be scrapped.

The NFL and NFL Players Association said in a joint statement July 19 that they planned to pause enforcement on league anthem rules while working out a resolution acceptable to players and team owners.

Preseason games begin Aug. 2.

National anthem protests are on the doorstep of entering year No. 3.


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