It all started last season when former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick decided to take a knee during “The Star-Spangled Banner.” As Kaepernick continued to kneel during the national anthem, it was his inspiration to publicly cite the injustices on minorities. It was his way to shed light on something he believed was not right in our amazing country.
This phenomenon caught fire as it inspired and spread throughout not only with NFL players (past and present) but also athletes across the globe. Athletes such as U.S. women’s national soccer team player Megan Rapinoe, three volleyball players from West Virginia Tech, three football players from Withrow High School and many more.
The kneeling has become so controversial that President Donald Trump has decided to take a stand against what he believed to be disrespectful to our great country. Going as far to say “Get those sons of bitches off the field. They should be fired,” Trump said.
As one can imagine, this did not sit well with past and present NFL players, coaches and owners alike. Even Roger Goodell the NFL commissioner rebutted the President’s comments.
His comments sparked an outrage among players and fans alike, as many came to a realization as to why Kaepernick was kneeling in the first place. The following Sunday, Sept. 24, became a day that I am sure will go down as a historic day for not only the NFL but for the United States since many players decided to protest before and after their games.
During the San Diego Chargers game, three Chargers sat on the bench and three more knelt during the national anthem, as the rest of the team locked arms to show solidarity. On the other side of the field, at least ten Kansas City Chiefs could be seen kneeling as well. The Pittsburgh Steelers entire team decided with 100% agreement that they would not step onto the field during the national anthem. The Seattle Seahawks, as well as the Tennessee Titans, decided to go in the same direction as the Steelers did.
It did not stop with just NFL players. The NBA’s Golden State Warriors star, Stephen Curry and many of his fellow teammates including Kevin Durant and head coach Steve Kerr planned on not attending the White House after winning the 2017 NBA Title. Usually considered a great honor but since the 45th President has reigned in the White House, we have seen less and less teams taking this honor to celebrate with our country’s leader.
After Trump heard these comments he uninvited the Golden State Warriors to the White House personally calling out Stephen Curry by name on Twitter.
This ultimately upset fellow NBA players past and present stars alike. Lebron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers being one of the biggest names stepping out and calling the President a “Bum” and going as far to say “The White House visit was a great honor until [President Trump] came.”
Chris Paul of the Houston Rockets stated “Don’t you have other things that YOU should be worried about?” in response to the President’s comments. Stephen Curry himself calling the whole experience with the President “surreal.”
The Golden State Warriors ultimately decided to skip the White House visit and visit our nation’s capital instead. The Mayor of Washington even went as far to personally invite the Warriors to the great state and let it be known that she does not stand with the President regarding these issues.
Trump’s attack has become an issue more about how to deal with athletes who may want to make a symbolic protest. The President went as far as saying he and others will boycott the NFL if the kneeling does not stop, or if players are not punished for doing so, which are heavily weighted words coming from the President himself.
The NFL and NBA are heavily watched, supported, praised and deeply rooted in our communities and across the globe. Although, we have to remember that these are human beings who have lives and are affected by the world that surrounds them. Their voices have the right to be heard and respected just as everyone else has that right even the President of the United States, even if you do not agree.
Colin Kaepernick started something to speak out on issues he believed were a problem in our great country. And by the looks of it, we still have some work to do.