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Student Views: Should NFL Players be Allowed to Kneel During the National Anthem?

Written by: Communicator StaffOctober 26, 2017

By: Ben Bailey

On Sept. 22, President Donald Trump addressed the recent NFL national anthem controversy.

In his speech, Trump suggested that players who do not stand for the national anthem should be fired.

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out. He’s fired. He’s fired!” Trump said at an Alabama speech.

In response, many players throughout the NFL have begun kneeling during the national anthem with most players citing racial discrepancies as their point of protest.

The NFL’s anthem controversy started last year when San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeled during the playing of the national anthem on Sept. 1

The NFL currently has no plans to take action to address this issue.

Some suggest that the national anthem and the flag should be symbols of unity for the nation and that athletes should be required to stand.

In a segment on Dallas radio channel 105.3 The Fan, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones threatened to bench any of his players who protested the flag.

Others argue that athletes have a first amendment right to kneel for the playing of the national anthem if they choose to.

Tennessee Titans receiver Rishard Matthews said in a now deleted tweet that he “will be done playing football” if the NFL forces players to stand during the national anthem.

In an interview with The NFL Network’s Nate Burleson, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said that there has been “no policy change.”

However, in an October memo from Goodell that was sent to all 32 NFL teams, Goodell said, “we believe that everyone should stand for the national anthem.”

While Trump has been at the focal point of the controversy, Vice President Mike Pence received media attention when he walked out of the Oct. 8 Colts-49ers game.

Pence left the stadium immediately after the playing of the national anthem, to which some 49ers players kneeled in protest.

While the NFL weighs its options to determine if anything should be done about this issue, IPFW students share their perspectives.

“I don’t think that any athlete should kneel during the national anthem, no matter what your views are on the country as it is right now. It’s not about right now, it’s about what people fought for in the past. My dad was in the military so for me standing is for him. It’s for all the people that lost their lives defending your rights that you have right now. … Honestly, I think they shouldn’t be allowed to play if they kneel. It’s a respect thing for me.” – Layne Carroll — sophomore, nursing

“I think that the NFL is its own independent organization. If it wants its players to stand for the national anthem it has every right to do so. But, I’ve been hearing things about Trump implementing some sort of tax for players who don’t stand for the anthem. If it comes to something like that, then I am definitely not OK with it because it goes against the constitution and our first amendment rights. But if it’s just the NFL implementing a policy, that’s alright.” – Ben Schmidt — senior computer science

“I think that they should have a policy that allows players to do whatever they want, that allows players express their feelings on social matters as much as they want. It is a necessary platform to get underrepresented views out to the public in a way that they can appreciate them better.” - Tyler Niedermeyer — senior psychology

“I think they should just leave it up to the team. If the teams or their owners want to implement a rule that’s fine but it shouldn’t be the whole organization. … The NFL shouldn’t be strict when it comes to things like that.” - Salvador Ramirez — freshman finance

“I believe there should be a policy because it’s not really racial. The flag stands for more than that. It stands for freedom and the people who lost their lives defending it gave them the opportunity play the game they love and make a living out of it. … The people in the Army fight for everyone not a specific race or gender.” - Emma Kurtz — freshman dental hygiene