The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Viewpoint – Players keep kneeling as many fail to listen

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By JW McNay/campus editor

The 2018 NFL preseason is underway, and controversy persists as some players continue to protest racial inequity in the U.S. by taking a knee during the national anthem, a trend that started two years ago.

President Donald Trump weighed in on the hot topic once again Aug. 10 when he tweeted that players shouldn’t kneel, that they’re unable to define what they’re protesting and should “find another way to protest.” He also wants to see NFL players punished for not standing for the anthem.

Football is as good a place as any for an expression of free speech, a process which should be encouraged for exchanging ideas that could lead to some positive change, but it doesn’t come without potential consequences as professional football players are in the public eye and at their job. They are free from going to jail for speaking out but not free from being fired or dragged through the mud on social media. 

Back in May, the NFL planned to disallow kneeling during the anthem, allowing players to remain in the locker room instead. However, this policy was put on hold as the league works with the players’ union on a different solution.

The NFL is in a tough spot as the issue continues to overshadow the sport. A new policy may reduce protests, but some players might choose to accept new fines or punishments established.

 Football fans that wish the issue would go away should remember that a protest is supposed to be inconvenient. Protests bring attention to issues and can spawn discussions on a national level that may not otherwise happen. 

Unfortunately, this debate is often reduced to whether players should kneel at all when it should be focused on discussing the very reason for the protest. It’s easy for a person to dismiss what they disagree with, but they should listen to what is actually being said instead of trying to shut it down.

 A conversation is also only the beginning because protesting is not guaranteed to bring quick change. Once people decide to express their ideas in a public setting, others are also free to disagree and express their own views.

Whether you agree with the protests or not, this is how change happens. That’s the beauty of freedom of speech.

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