It all started with Donald Trump’s Friday evening speech attacking Colin Kaepernick. In the summer of 2016, the former quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers knelt during the rendition of the American anthem to protest the killings of several black men who were shot by white police officers. The NFL season has resumed and Donald Trump has decided to get involved, suggesting fans boycott games where players don’t stand during the national anthem, sparking a backlash.
Players protest, disgruntled fans
Shocking words, and they were parted. In response to the talk, several players took a knee during the national anthem at various American football stadiums this weekend, while entire teams such as the Pittsburgh Steelers or Seattle Seahawks did not take the field for the anthem. The Arizona Cardinals really didn’t make this fan happy:
“I don’t think any of these athletes have the right to talk about politics. Their job is to entertain us fans. Now, we see them kneeling on the floor, or not attending the national anthem… I think it’s disrespectful to our country.“
Freedom of speech is a fundamental right
On the other hand, other fans support the pacifist movement of American football players because they believe that the players are exercising this Dallas practice of one of America’s fundamental principles, “freedom of speech” or freedom of expression. A Cowboys fan explained:
“I disagree with Donald Trump. My father was a gunnery sergeant in the navy who fought for this country. One thing he taught me is that he went to fight for this country, for our freedom, and part of that freedom is freedom of speech. I’m proud of the players, owners and organization that came together as one.“
Support LeBron James
Donald Trump seems to be in trouble over the issue, especially since someone like Tom Brady, one of the NFL’s biggest stars who supported Donald Trump during the campaign, has even declared his solidarity with the movement. This controversy in the NFL is worrying all of America, and many athletes have given their support to football players, including basketball player LeBron James:
“I want to salute the NFL, the coaches, the players, the owners, and the fans. What happened was amazing. It is a reaction of unity. No division. This guy is trying to divide us as a people. As I said a few days ago, what frustrates and annoys me today is that he is now using the game to try to divide us.“
LeBron James isn’t the only NBA star to attack the US president: there’s also Stephen Curry or Kobe Bryant.