NFL Should Have Suspended Kaepernick To Prevent Further Protests

OPINION: Athletes taking knees are exercising their freedom of speech

President Donald Trump offered his latest critique Wednesday evening of the protests NFL players have been staging, saying that Colin Kaepernick, the ex-49ers quarterback who was the first to kneel during the national anthem a year ago, would never have continued to do so if he had been "suspended" by the league. "We don't have a policy on protesting, but we allow our players to express their freedom of speech and protest".

I'm amazed that the National Football League who brilliantly built the most popular sports institution over the past 75 years, now seems incapable of managing its own game plan. For initiating the #TakeAKnee protest, Kaepaernick was unable to find a team this season. The resurgence of media coverage on the subject sparked a response from President Tweets-Way-Too-Much.

The operation manual says that if players don't stand and respect the National Anthem, those actions "may result in discipline, such as fines, suspensions ..." among other disciplinary remedies.

"Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem", said Goodell in a letter to NFL executives cited by CNN. "He's fired!'" Donald Trump said during a rally in Alabama on September 22.

Another form of protesting observed is raising a fist in solidarity of racial inequality and police brutality. Some teams stayed in the locker room during the anthem.

The two main issues I have with Trump's use of Twitter to voice his opinion on the "Take a Knee" movement would be his authoritarian tone with which he addresses the National Football League and its players, and the amount of time he is putting into making all of these tweets.

And is it really too much to ask of players who already agree to honor a rule that "Towels must be tucked into the front waist of the trousers and are limited to a maximum of 6 inches wide and 8 inches long" to limit their protest to before or after the two-minute playing of the national anthem?

NFL players and owners will soon consider just what their next move is in the cacophonous debate over player demonstrations during the national anthem and, with owners such as Jerry Jones threatening to command players to stand, one player thinks the situation could grow "messier". And I guess you could argue that the protests have a new meaning, and you'd be right: its original reason seems to be lost. I remove my hat and place my hand over my heart in respect to the military; I have former and current family members and friends who serve in the military. Although I don't particularly agree with kneeling during the anthem, and I absolutely do not agree with burning the American flag, banning these acts is simply unconstitutional. Innocent African-Americans still get shot by police with no logical explanation, while these officers typically face little to no consequences.

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