The ongoing battle between the NFL and President Trump

    NFL players continue the protest while Trump continues to Tweet back

    More stories from Casey Ryan

    The Olympic games debate
    December 13, 2017

    Photo by Rick Scuteri

    NFL players kneel as they continue to protest against racial inequality and police brutality.

    President Donald Trump has misinterpreted the NFL protests as a fight against the national anthem, flag and military when the players are actually protesting racial inequality and police brutality.

    Trump recently tweeted his disagreement with the protesting.

    “The NFL has all sorts of rules and regulations,” Trump tweeted. “The only way out for them is to set a rule that you can’t kneel during our National Anthem!”

    This debate all began when Colin Kaepernick knelt during the 49ers’ third preseason game in 2016 when the national anthem played.

    “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said to NFL Media in an exclusive interview after the game last year. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

    Many NFL teams have since joined together protesting the national anthem before their games by kneeling, linking arms or staying in the locker room altogether.

    Last week featured more protests during the national anthem than the league has ever seen. Players, coaches and owners united after President Trump took aim at the athletes for exercising their freedom of speech by referring to them in a series of expletives and imploring owners to fire them during a speech he gave in Alabama.

    Many people have been misrepresenting the protests as a vehicle for disrespecting the flag and the military fighting to defend it. However, both players and coaches insisted this is not the case.

    Trump has multiple tweets that are confusing the public on what the protesting is about. He continues to tweet about NFL players disrespecting military veterans.

    The protest is not about military veterans, nobody is protesting the military. Trump has once again divided the country in an argument. Furthermore, there is no argument to be made here because the protests have always been about racial inequality and police brutality against people of color.

    Trump does not care to see why the protests started before he began to make up his own reasoning behind them. Trump clearly voices every opinion he has on his twitter account.

    The general public sadly can’t rely on their president to be factual, but will have to do their own research before posting a facebook status saying the NFL players are against veterans or changing their profile picture to an “I Stand” logo.

    The protest was started by Kaepernick in the first place to end police brutality and racial injustice against people of color. It has not shifted to disrespecting military or the flag but continues to raise awareness for racial injustice happening in America.

    President Trump has continued his attack on NFL players who are choosing not to stand during the national anthem via his Twitter account.

    “If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast,” Trump tweeted. “Fire or suspend!”

    After Trump’s multiple tweets over that weekend, the Patriots Chairman and CEO, Robert Kraft, released a statement to his own Twitter account.

    “I am deeply disappointed by the tone of the comments made by the President on Friday,” Kraft tweeted. “I am proud to be associated with so many players who make such tremendous contributions in positively impacting our communities.”

    President Trump may need some fact-checking before he tweets out “facts” about the NFL.

    Trump has claimed attendance is way down, when in fact it has gone up. Overall attendance for every NFL game this season is on pace for a total of 17.8 million, up slightly from 17.7 million last year, according to Pro Football Reference’s data.

    Trump has also said the NFL should enforce “a rule that’s been in existence for a long time.” There is no NFL rule that requires players to stand for the national anthem. In fact, teams weren’t even on the sidelines for the national anthem until 2009.

    Another claim Trump has made is that the NFL is disrespecting the flag and the national anthem. I personally know many people who believe this is what the protests are about.

    These protests have never been about the flag, the national anthem or the military. The demonstrations are focused on racial inequality, police brutality, and oppression of people of color in the United States.

    Eric Reid wrote a powerful op-ed for the New York Times about why he decided to kneel with Kaepernick.

    “It baffles me that our protest is still being misconstrued as disrespectful to the country, flag, and military personnel,” Reid wrote. “We chose it because it’s exactly the opposite. It has always been my understanding that the brave men and women who fought and died for our country did so to ensure that we could live in a fair and free society, which includes the right to speak out in protest.”

    If precedent holds, these won’t be the last of the president’s attacks on NFL players and teams. It is time both Trump and those standing with him get their facts straight.