When former 49'ers player Colin Kaepernick first refused to stand for the national anthem, it was seen as a rogue move, an isolated act of rebellion. But now, like all things rebellious, it has spread.
Now, NFL players across the country are kneeling instead of standing during the anthem in shows of protest against President Trump and a host of "injustices" in America. Some teams have even been joined by coaches and owners in the protest. Other players, however, like Tom Brady, stood and locked arms.
The tensions are high in America, and NFL players are celebrities that so many look to for guidance. President Trump has spoken out strongly against the shows of disrespect for the nation, calling the kneeling "not acceptable," but he is only being met with further animosity.
The New York Times reports that LeSean McCoy, a running back for the Buffalo Bills, said, “I can’t stand and support something where our leader of this county is just acting like a jerk, you know, angry and upset about N.F.L. players protesting in a peaceful manner."
But Drew Brees, quarterback for the New Orleans Saints, said the disagreement with Trump shouldn't extend to the disrespect of the nation: “I disagree with what the president said and how he said it. I think it’s very unbecoming of the office of President of the United States to talk like that to the great people like that. And obviously he’s disappointed a lot of people. But as it pertains to the national anthem, I will always feel that if you are an American that the national anthem is the opportunity for us all to stand up together, to be unified and to show respect for our country.”
Franklin Graham, outspoken evangelical leader, brings an entirely different perspective to NFL's defiance in his latest Facebook post. He says taking a knee (even two!) is a great idea, but in prayer, not in protest.
What do you think of this battle between President Trump and the NFL? Do you agree with Graham? Share your thoughts in the comments! President Trump spoke out further about the NFL's kneeling on Twitter. Some agreed, though many were even more inflamed.