By Gabby Carlson | Echo
The National Football League (NFL) and the National Football League Players Association is divided over the controversial positions players are taking during the national anthem played before games. According to NBC News, as of Oct. 18, no common ground has been reached on the subject, but both sides are striving for positive change to unite the league.
Thirteen months ago, while the rest of his team stood, quarterback for the San Francisco Colin Kaepernick sat next to a Gatorade jug on the San Francisco 49ers bench as the national anthem played. When questioned, he stated his reason being to protest the brutal police shootings happening. Although it didn't catch on immediately, fellow NFL athletes took notice when Kaepernick began to take a knee during the anthem.
For the last year, NFL players have been kneeling during the anthem, most in protest of brutality and racism, causing controversy across the league, but national conversation on the protest was minimal.
This was until President Donald Trump weighed in on the situation on Sept. 22, 2017.
At a rally for Alabama Senator Luther Strange, Trump addressed the issue in his speech saying, "(Kneeling is) a total disrespect of our heritage, and that's a total disrespect of what we stand for. And I know we have freedom of choice and, many many different freedoms. But you know what? It's still totally disrespectful."
This led to many NFL players reacting negatively and the country joining the conversation. Athletes such as Tom Brady, a longtime friend of Trump's, disagreed with him and locked arms with his teammates for Sunday's game calling Trump "divisive," according to Independent.
Many players are kneeling in protest of racism and police brutality, but the president and many nationally see it as disrespectful to the American flag, troops and veterans. Several teams in the NFL have decided to stay in their locker rooms during the anthem, leaving only the referees, mascots and singer of the anthem on the field, according to the New York Times.
The following day, Trump tweeted, "If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL,or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect . . . our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem. If not, YOU'RE FIRED. Find something else to do!"
Since then, players have not only knelt, but locked arms with their teammates, while still standing. In a tweet sent out the next day, Trump accepted locking arms in unity as appropriate behavior.
Because of the uproar on the subject recently, other teams and leagues are beginning to follow suit. The German soccer team Hertha Berlin took a knee before their game to send a message about having an "open-minded world," according to CBS Sports.
While a solution has not been found yet, the peaceful protests continue. Taylor University held a panel discussing these protests last Tuesday at 7 p.m. in hopes to facilitate healthy conversation on campus regarding the controversy.