YOU DECIDE: The NFL Anthem Protests

Posted by on Sep 27, 2017 in You Decide!

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Should NFL Players Be Allowed to Protest the National Anthem?

Last August, Colin Kaepernick–then a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers–remained seated during the national anthem performance that precedes each National Football League game. Later in the season, Kaepernick began to kneel silently during the anthem. When asked about his actions, Kaepernick explained that he was refusing to stand in order to protest the incidents of unarmed African American deaths during police arrests.

Since then, dozens of other athletes in the NFL and other sports have also performed “anthem protests” to protest racial inequality in the United States. A year later, Kaepernick, who is now a free agent, remains unsigned by any NFL team.

Last Friday, at a political rally in Huntsville, Alabama, President Trump specifically criticized Kaepernick and other NFL players who choose to kneel during the national anthem. He suggested that any player who continued in this protest should be fired by the football team’s owner. This past Sunday and Monday, almost all of the NFL teams responded to the president’s words. Dozens of teams chose to kneel, sit on the bench, and linked arms with one another in a sign of team unity. A few teams even chose to remain in the locker room during the national anthem and then came onto the field immediately after the song was performed. Many players, coaches, owners, and even NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell released statements condemning the president’s disrespectful remarks.

However, not everyone agrees that kneeling during the national anthem is an appropriate form of protest. A Reuters poll taken last year revealed that 63 percent of Caucasian people disapproved of NFL players kneeling during the anthem (only 17 percent of African American people disapproved). Many fans have suggested boycotting NFL games unless players stand for the anthem.

Based on what you’ve heard and seen in the news, YOU DECIDE: Should NFL players be allowed to protest the national anthem?


  • Not standing for the anthem is unpatriotic and disrespectful to members of the armed services.
  • Politics and political protests do not belong at football games or other sporting events.


  • The Constitution protects the right to free speech and expression for everyone, including football players.
  • Athem protests are peaceful: they are a silent, non-disruptive, and non-violent form of protest.
  • As celebrities, NFL players have a unique platform to take a stand against injustice and have their protest be witnessed on a national scale.

Should NFL players be allowed to protest the national anthem?