In the newly implemented NFL National Anthem Policy, players are no longer allowed to kneel or perform acts that suggest disrespect during the national anthem, else face financial penalties. Instead, players who do not wish to be a part of it may sit out in the locker room. There has been a recent history of players kneeling or showing fists in the air to protest social injustice during the National Anthem, the most well known being Colin Kaepernick who knelt to protest police brutality and racial injustice in 2016. This new regulation is a move backed by President Donald Trump, who seems bent on stifling what he thinks is “unpatriotic” and who also called players who knelt “sons of bitches” last year. He goes one step further to suggest that those who choose to remain in locker rooms “shouldn’t be in the country” at all. This begs the question: should entertainers such as football players keep in line and stay out of making political statements? And can an act of protest ever be “respectful”?
Written by Emily Eng