The NFL, Is It For, or Against, The National Anthem?
The National Football League, the sporting league that currently has more fans in the U.S. than any other sport is facing an identity crisis. Recently, the league has seen an increasing number of it’s players that choose to sit or kneel through the national anthem. Though the NFL has seen stark lashback by it’s fans, it has had trouble with deciding whether or not to discipline these players.
This confusion as to what it should do about players sitting through the anthem has caused a Decrease in ratings in the last few years.
It all started when Colin Kaepernick, a former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, decided to kneel for the national anthem. When asked about it, he claimed that it seemes wrong to stand for a flag that shows “oppression” towards “black people and people of color.”
Kaepernick has since left the 49ers, and has not been signed by a team since, causing a debate between two sides of the NFL. One side believes Kaepernick is being “blackballed”, and that it is unfair that he is not being signed for his “political stances”. Another side believes that his media firestorm is enough for him not to be signed by anyone, and that his disrespect for the flag warrants him not being on a team.
Both of these sides have attempted a boycott on the NFL for different reasons.
Here, you will find a list of players that typically kneel for the national anthem, and the players that choose to stand in respect for the flag. ESPN put together a list of players that kneeled in Week 1, which helped put together this list.
Colin Kaepernick (Free Agent)
The man that started it all. Though he is not currently playing in the NFL, he had to be on this list for his reputation and refusal to escape the public eye.
Michael Bennett, Justin Britt, Cliff Avril, Frank Clark (Seattle Seahawks)
Michael Bennett recently had a run-in with the Las Vegas police, which only put fuel to the anti-national anthem fire. Bennett has explained that his anthem is nkt against the military, saying that his dad was in the Army. But Bennett’s claims about racial inequality are hard to ignore, considering that’s all his press conferences are about anymore.
Martellus Bennett (Green Bay Packers)
Martellus Bennett is Michael Bennett’s brother, so it’s pretty hard to imagine he’d be much different in political stance.
Robert Quinn (Los Angeles Rams)
Marshawn Lynch (Oakland Raiders)*
*Marshawn is a tricky case. He sits through the anthem, but has explained that he doesn’t have a politically-charged stance in doing so. He claims that this is just what he’s done since he’s been in the NFL. Marshawn is a pretty quiet and reclusive guy, so you’ve almost gotta believe he doesn’t really have strong political stances of any kind.
Malcom Jenkins (Philadelphia Eagles)
Marcus Peters (Kansas City Chiefs)
Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks)
Russell Wilson has acted as a first-class citizen since he entered the league. When the controversy first started stirring over Kaepernick’s protest, Russell said that he “loves the flag”. Wilson can be seem before every Seahawks game with his hand over his heart and his head down.
Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints)
It’s hard not to love the heart of New Orleans, Drew Brees. Brees has described that he “wholeheartedly disagrees” with Kaepernick’s method of protest. Drew respects the flag and the anthem.
Justin Pugh (New York Giants)
Offensive lineman for the Giants has been vocal in his opposition to the protests, tweeting “I will be STANDING during the National Anthem tonight. Thank you to ALL (Gender,Race,Religion) that put your lives on the line for that flag.”
Joe Thomas (Cleveland Browns)
Arguably the best offensive lineman in the NFL, Joe Thomas has explained that the reason Kaepernick hasn’t been signed by anyone is because he’s too much of a “distraction”.
A true American. J.J. Watt has displayed tremendous patriotism is love for his fellow man. HE respects the flag, the military, and everything in between. Not to mention he is one of the best players in the league. Gotta love J.J. Watt.
Tom Brady, Bill Belichick (New England Patriots)
Regarded as the most popular duo in sports, much less football. The five-time Super Bowl winners have shown resistance to talk much about politics, while lowkey showing their support for Donald Trump. Brady and Belichick both show respect during the playing of the antional anthem.