California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

    Kneeling Respectfully Protests Inequality

    The National Football League protests are not about the national anthem, they never were. People around the nation are divided, but they are fighting over two completely different issues. On one side of the argument, I see people on social media complaining about these uneducated, disrespectful people who need to stop supporting these players because the national anthem says nothing about slavery and inequality. Please step out from behind your screens and open your eyes.

    This protest has nothing to do with a song written by a man named Francis Scott Key. No offense Key, but your song is only being used as a platform to attack the much bigger conflict of inequality in America. Teams are sitting, kneeling and staying in the locker room because they do not feel like all of America is being supported in our countryโ€ฆA country that boasts its love of freedom and opportunity.

    Sure, NFL football players earn boatloads of money and get paid to play a sport that they love, so why are they the ones protesting inequality in America when they have way more money and opportunity than most Americans can hope for? But once again, that isnโ€™t the point.

    They have the opportunity to be the voice that some citizens do not have. More specifically, this weekendโ€™s protests escalated due to comments that President Donald Trump made first in a rally in Huntsville, Alabama and then continued through tweets.

    โ€œWouldnโ€™t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, โ€˜Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out. Heโ€™s fired. Heโ€™s fired,โ€™โ€ President Trump said at his rally.

    Because of these words, far more athletes, coaches and NFL owners chose to participate.

    โ€œTo have the president trying to intimidate people โ€” I wanted to send a message that I donโ€™t condone that. Iโ€™m not O.K. with somebody trying to prevent someone from standing up for what they think is important,โ€ Miami Dolphins tight end Julius Thomas said in an interview with New York Times.

    Once again, Trump pushed his way into a topic that has nothing to do with him, and the ironic thing is that he made it into a far bigger protest. Not only are people angry that he got himself involved, but that he is threatening the rights of the First Amendment. By telling owners and coaches to remove athletes who are protesting, Trump is challenging the constitutional rule of freedom of expression. They are not harming anyone or threatening anyone, so what gives him the right to tell them that they are not allowed to voice their opinion.

    Steve King, a Republican congressman from Iowa, posted a tweet saying, โ€œPro-Players have the right to freedom of speech. Owners do, too. And should exercise it by firing offending players.โ€

    What are they doing that is so offensive? They are not forcing soldiers to kneel, they are not burning a flag, they are not mocking the anthem. They are partaking in a peaceful protest for something they believe in, and as you said King, they have the right to freedom of speech.

    I wrote an article about Colin Kaepernick a year ago, when this started, and I will say the same thing that I did then, I urge you as a media consumer to stop getting lost in the action of kneeling and start paying attention to the real purpose behind it. Pay attention to the inequality in America. Pay attention to the president of the United States of America bullying people out of their right to expression.

    Whether you support the action of kneeling or not, at the very least understand that this protest has nothing to do with a song and all to do with how citizens are being treated.

    Makenna Pellerin
    Reporter/Social Media Manager