Can Sports be Used as a Political Statement

In 2018, more and more sports players are actively vocalising their view relating to the current American political standing – especially within the NFL, which has not gone unnoticed by the press or the president who was subtweeting the players who were planning on taking a knee during the season and the highly anticipated Super Bowl.

For decades, the NFL was known for the big guys who loved football – but now it adds in social awareness, political stances, and even such as famous patriotism. Due to many players personal dislike of the current president, his policies, or the rising number violence towards people of colour, more players are taking a stance in one of the most notable ways – by taking a knee or not being on the field during the national anthem. One player, Telvin Smith, linebacker of the Jacksonville Jaguars, stated that as a man he must stand for something – that something being the injustices he believes is going on in the country. Though Smith and two of his other players took it a step further by staying in the locker room during the Star-Spangled Banner.

This movement is nothing new and was not started by the current president, Donald Trump. Instead, two years ago, the iconic 49ers player, Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the anthem to protest against the injustices of people of colour and police brutality. Since then, however, many other players have taken the torch and led the movement to use it as a way to peacefully protest the issues they see going on in the country, which can be easily seen with teams, such as the Jaguars, who are refusing to let the movement die.

Not everyone is on board with the protests. One of the major people the current president, Trump. In a series of tweets, he has displayed his disdain towards the movement and his desire for players who are protesting to be suspended from playing (most likely in the Super Bowl). Although before then, the president’s tweets were a bit more on the outspoken side, which is nothing out of the ordinary.

How Are Player’s Protesting?

There are two ways that players are protesting, one way – which was started by Kaepernick, was simply by taking a knee during the anthem. Although, since then, the NFL had adopted a policy in May which allowed players to stand in the locker room while the anthem was going on without issue. While both options are simple, quiet, and statement creating. Many people are divided on how they feel towards the methods. One of the main arguments is how the teams will look – just imagine having one team standing for the anthem while half of the other is in the locker room waiting it out.

Nevertheless, the right to protest is one that Americans value. The question is, should it be allowed on the playing field.