Trump and NFL compromise over National Anthem

Marino Dominguez, Columnist

In recent years, peaceful protests over social issues have reached an unprecedented number. Between women’s rights protests to Black Lives Matter movements, protests have changed the way people and organizations stand on a multitude of issues. However, one type of peaceful protest doesn’t sit well with some people: kneeling, locking arms or raising fists during the National Anthem.

In an earlier column during the 2016 presidential election, I wrote about Donald Trump’s remarks on whether or not players should stand during the National Anthem. He called them “sons of bitches” and I guess that sums up his feelings toward those who decide not to stand for the anthem.

Recently, more people and corporations have taken more extreme stances on the kneeling.

Last week the National Football league announced they would give players the option to either stand and respect the flag, wait in the locker room or a place of that nature, or have the entire team fined by the league.

“Clearly our objective as a league and to all 32 clubs, which was unanimous, is that we want people to be respectful of the national anthem,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a released statement. “All 32 clubs want to ensure that during the moments that the anthem is played, that is a very important moment to all of us as a league, to our personnel and to our country.”

The move was not without criticism, as players and progressive protesters went on the offensive after news of the new policies was released.

“This is a fear of a diminished bottom line,” Chris Long, who plays for the Philadelphia Eagles, said on Twitter. “It’s also fear of a president turning his base against a corporation. This is not patriotism. Don’t get it confused. These owners don’t love America more than the players demonstrating and taking real action to improve it.”

Last year, Long donated nearly all of his salary to charities and scholarships in his hometown. He has been very outspoken in his support of the anthem protests — and the right to protest peacefully itself.

President Donald Trump has been very critical of the NFL since the beginning of the protests. After the NFL announced its new policies on Tuesday, Trump said he was “pleased” with the new rules, but was still disappointed with the option to stay in the locker room.

“You have to stand proudly for the National Anthem or you shouldn’t be playing,” Trump said on Fox and Friends. “You shouldn’t be there. Maybe you shouldn’t be in the country.”

President Trump’s remarks are polarizing, and only added fuel to the ever growing flame.

My stance on the protesting is simple: first of all, these players are not protesting the flag, anthem or the military. Those who say that these players are doing that are either ignorant or are using that as a way to take away the constitutional right to protest peacefully, which is something our military fights for every day. Secondly, kneeling or protesting peacefully is something we as a country must accept: it’s never going away, and the harder people try, the more the movement will grow.

If you can’t watch football because people are exercising a constitutional right, maybe you should reflect on your stance on the Constitution.