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Should NFL Players Be Allowed to Protest During the National Anthem?

Are you disgusted by the fact that NFL players are protesting the national anthem?

San Francisco 🌉  Forty-Niners kneeling during the national anthem. (si.com)

Are you disgusted by the fact that NFL players are protesting the national anthem? If you don’t already know, National Football League players are not protesting the US anthem. They protest for racial equality between minorities and law enforcement. People argue that NFL players should not protest, because it’s just unpatriotic, but the players have the first amendment to back them up. Therefore they should be able to protest.

When NFL players have been stripped of their privilege of protesting, their human rights, and rights as a United States citizen are violated. The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights in its 18th-20th articles states, 

“We all have the right to believe in what we want to believe, to have a religion, or to change it if we want. To think what we like, to say what we think, and to share our ideas with other people. We all have the right to meet our friends and to work, nobody can make us join a group if we don't want to.” 

These rights allow players to protest, they allow them to think freely, speak their own mind when needed. As well as, they allow the players to protest and not force others to agree with them. According to the Constitution of United States of America 1789 (rev. 1992), it states that people have; “the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." 

The first amendment gives people the right, by law, to protest for their beliefs. You cannot be fired simply because you engaged in a political protest, which is considered protected political activity in California. Specifically, California Labor Code 1102 does not allow your employer to discharge, or threaten to discharge you for following any particular “course or line” of political action or activity, such as a gathering or march to protest actions by federal, state, or local government officials. (California Labor Law). This gives people in California who work in the workplace, the right to protest and not be fired. For example, if someone were to go on strike because think you aren’t being paid enough, your employer can’t fire you. This should be law all over the country, not just in California.

The main reason for the protests in the NFL is the racial injustice between Minorities such as African Americans, and law enforcement. Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49’ers quarterback, began his protests in the preseason or 2016, and his message has been lost among the public, “Colin Kaepernick’s decision to protest, beginning in August of 2016, was rooted in bringing attention to police brutality and the systemic inequality faced by people of colour in the United States. It was not about the anthem itself and had nothing to do with U.S. troops.” (SBNation). People who are against this protest twist and turn the original message, and make the players who protest seem like they are American Hate Mongers. In 2016, Kaepernick shared statistics that made him want to protest, “They (coloured people) made up nearly 63 percent of unarmed people killed by police officers. Black people were nearly three times more likely to be arrested for illicit drugs. People of colour not only make up a disproportionate amount of the prison population but also are more likely to serve longer sentences for the same crimes as their white counterparts.” (SBNation). 

Racial injustice between law enforcement and people of colour is becoming out of control and these statistics gives players the justification to protest. The message of the protest has been lost, an article posted by AZCentral.com sums it all up, "The players are protesting police brutality against minorities and racial inequality. That’s it. Here is what they are not protesting: The national anthem. U.S. troops. President Donald Trump. The United States.” Players are not protesting the anthem, they protest for the equality that races, besides Caucasians, experience with law enforcement.

Although protesting during the national anthem is allowed by law, but the ratings of the NFL went down; "A UBS Securities analysis released Tuesday showed that 50 percent of U.S. consumers who watched less football in 2017 cited their disapproval of players refusing to stand during the national anthem, the most popular response and up from 32 percent last year." (WASHINGTON-TIMES). When ratings are low in the NFL the corporation cannot pay their players what they were contracted to do. But on the contrary, this protest is respectful, just take a protester word for it; "Reid (Eric Reid) re-emphasized that point in a New York Times op-ed he wrote in September 2017: "We chose to kneel because it’s a respectful gesture. I remember thinking our posture was like a flag flown at half-mast to mark a tragedy.'" (Eric Reid, SBNation). There is no other way to say this, but these protest shed light on racial inequality among minorities and law enforcement, NOT UN-PATRIOTISM.

Protesting the racial inequality is what should be allowed to happen, not protesting the anthem. In summary, people have the right to protest this, and people aren't protesting the anthem, they protesting the racial injustice between Law enforcement and minorities. As a person who has a darker skinned coloured dad, and who has experienced this issue first hand, I can say that people need to shed light on the racial injustice that people of colour face. People need to make this world a place where all races can live in harmony.



Works Cited

Articles 16-30, United Nations Declaration of Human Rights: Youth For Human Rights Video.” Black History Month Feature: Alvin Ailey - Genius Choreographer and Human Rights Activist, 10 Dec. 1948.

Goodykoontz, Bill. “Hey, CBS News: NFL Players Are NOT Protesting the National Anthem.” Azcentral, The Republic | Azcentral.com, 25 Aug. 2018.

LII Staff. “First Amendment.” LII / Legal Information Institute , Legal Information Institute, 10 Oct. 2017.

Richardson, Valerie. “Survey: Main Reason for NFL's Ratings Slide Was Player Take-a-Knee Protests.” The Washington Times, The Washington Times, 6 Feb. 2018.

SB Nation NFL. “The Real Reasons Why NFL Players Are Protesting and How Their Message Gets Lost in Politics.” SBNation.com, SBNation.com, 21 Oct. 2018.

Your Workplace Rights as a Political Protester.” Legal Aid at Work.

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