Protest | Symbolic Speech

Players Who Sit Out National Anthem Under Fire From President Trump

Football player kneeling

Over the weekend, President Trump took aim at players who have more explicitly over the past year taken to kneeling, sitting or raising a fist during the playing of the National Anthem in order to bring awareness to racism and police brutality. Using an expletive, the President suggested these players be fired for doing so and later scolded NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell, “Tell them to stand!”

In response to the President’s tweets, NFL players in games across the country responded by kneeling or sitting out the national anthem. Professional athletes have increasingly been exercising their right to free expression. Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch sat for the playing of the national anthem in protest of Charlottesville white nationalist rallies. Last season, free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick and a handful of other NFL players also protested the playing of the National Anthem leading to heated debates and much criticism. In addition over the weekend, the President disinvited N.B.A. champion Golden State Warriors from visiting the White House over his disapproval of their star player Stephen Curry’s public opposition to him.

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