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Column: Politics Invading the NFL

Jalen Andrews, Thayer High School

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The National Football League (NFL) has been in a lot of turmoil over the last few weeks due to protests against the national anthem. This turmoil was raised even more when President Trump made comments about the players, saying that they should be “fired” if they did not stand in respect for the anthem. Now, almost every NFL team has reacted to these comments in some way, and the whole world of sports has something to say about these protests.

In response to President Trump’s comments, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said, “Divisive comments like these show an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand an overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities.”

Across the NFL on Sunday, teams reacted to the protests in their own way. Some teams had individual players kneel, others locked arms in a show of unity, and some just stayed in the locker room. One team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, decided that they would stay in the locker room so that they could show unity. But one Steelers player (a former Army Ranger) left the locker room and stood for the anthem alone. This was one of the most popular images of Sunday, and the picture of the player standing alone went viral.

When President Trump made his comments, he felt the players that were kneeling were disrespecting the United States and the veterans that have fought for this country. His comments were harsh and rash, but he was saying what many people across the United States feel. Many people, including myself, feel that these players are protesting in the wrong way, and that the NFL should make players stand in respect for the country that gives them the opportunity to play football. I do not disapprove of them protesting, but I think that they can do it in a much better way. Taking a kneel during the anthem is not helping anyone, it is only causing a lot of drama that is completely unnecessary.

The United States is going through some tough times due to leadership issues, as well as natural disasters and other problems. The only way that things will change is if we focus on things that actually matter. I believe that God is in control, and if we turn to Him, He will help us and give us peace. We have to remember that we are all Americans, not different races. We aren’t on different teams, and we need to come together in order to continue the United States of America. This is a lot to ask, and it is just a dream, but if we all come together as one nation to make things better, we can accomplish our goals. But we have to be willing to work together and compromise.

The NFL protests have distracted the country from the things that are most important. The coasts have been slammed by hurricanes. North Korea is becoming more and more threatening every day. I am sure that North Korea is happy to see the United States being divided on the inside, and this is sad to see. “A house divided against itself cannot stand,” Abraham Lincoln once said, and that statement is just as true today as it was in the 1860’s. We need to stop focusing on ourselves and worry about the feelings of the people around us. These protests are only dividing the country more, and they are not helping any cause whatsoever. I think it is time to stop the disrespect for the flag, the veterans, and for the United States of America.

Read the original column here

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