Trump, NFL clash on anthem protests


The battle of wills between the National Football League and President Donald Trump continues today, as week four of the NFL season kicks off tonight. This past week saw players, coaches and league officials from multiple organizations speak out and demonstrate acts of protest following a series of harsh comments from Trump.

The debacle began when, at a campaign rally, the president made several remarks about players who chose to kneel during the national anthem.

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, you’d say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired,” said Trump, basking in the applause of his supporters.

What was once a personal protest by a single player, Colin Kaepernick, against a rise in police brutality toward black suspects and offenders quickly became a first amendment issue, and many NFL players chose to unite against the president’s comments.

“To have the president trying to intimidate people — I wanted to send a message that I don’t condone that,” said Julius Thomas of the Miami Dolphins, who had remained standing during the anthem before this Sunday’s game. “I’m not O.K. with somebody trying to prevent someone from standing up for what they think is important.”

The protest took an especially powerful turn at the day’s match-up between the Tennessee Titans and the Seattle Seahawks, as both teams remained in the locker room during the singing of the anthem.

After the day’s games, the feud continued on social media, with players posting Instagram pictures and tweets, denouncing the president’s harsh words. Trump took to Twitter in his usual fashion, biting back: “Sports fans should never condone players that do not stand proud for their National Anthem or their Country. NFL should change policy!”

Week four of the NFL season begins tonight, as the Green Bay Packers face off against the Chicago Bears. Debate has been high all week, and the lasting effects of these protests remain to be seen. The media have done a good job covering the story from all points of view, finding unbiased sources who agree and disagree with the protests, as well as players and officials to comment on what the president has been saying.