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Editorial: Sports Play A Part In Racial Debate

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Editorial: Sports Play A Part In Racial Debate

FILE - In this Oct. 2, 2016 file photo, from left, San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Eli Harold, quarterback Colin Kaepernick and safety Eric Reid kneel in protest during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

FILE - In this Oct. 2, 2016 file photo, from left, San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Eli Harold, quarterback Colin Kaepernick and safety Eric Reid kneel in protest during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

AP

FILE - In this Oct. 2, 2016 file photo, from left, San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Eli Harold, quarterback Colin Kaepernick and safety Eric Reid kneel in protest during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

AP

AP

FILE - In this Oct. 2, 2016 file photo, from left, San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Eli Harold, quarterback Colin Kaepernick and safety Eric Reid kneel in protest during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

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At a time in our country where we are divided by so many issues, it is no surprise that politics would be brought into our collective sports watching weekends. Usually, it is sports that unites us.  With the president of the United States tweeting whatever comes to his mind, the response to his tweets and his public commentary is causing his many critics to spring into action on their own.

Ever since San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick first sat during the playing of the national anthem in August 2016, many athletes both professional and amateur across the nation have participated in this peaceful protest. The protests began after the live coverage of multiple national incidents where police were accused of unfair treatment involving African Americans. These acts of protest have gained enough attention on their own, but with President Trumps’ profane reaction to the protest they have gained even more attention.

At a rally Friday night President Trump referred to athletes who peacefully take a knee during the playing of the national anthem as “sons of bitches” that the National Football League (NFL) owners should “fire.” Trump claims that the protests are “a total disrespect of our heritage and everything we stand for.” In fact, what the athletes are doing is exercising their first amendment right to free speech. Having such a visible platform and using it to expose social injustice is important for the NFL players. In a league primarily dominated by African American players what better way is there to be able to address social injustices that are happening against their own people?

It has been suggested that because these players are highly paid that they owe some extra duty to the American flag.  No one ever questions the patriotism of the billionaire owners  and corporations who have the money to pay these players millions, though. Professional athletes are paid what the free enterprise value of their skills  and they, like the owners, are simply Americans like us all.

After the white supremacist and Neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia turned violent, fifty-two percent of people surveyed said that Trump’s response to the violence was insufficient (Politico). In fact, Trump did not condemn the group that chanted “Jews will not replace us” and “blood and soil” or Neo-Nazis like James Alex Fields Jr., who is responsible for leaving one dead and nineteen injured after ramming his car into a crowd of anti-racist protesters. Instead he condemned hatred, bigotry, and violence “on many sides,” while suggesting there were good people on both sides.

Trump’s differing responses to these protests reflects his position regarding the United States racial climate. Targeting an NFL player for taking a knee and exercising their rights, but not targeting a hate group for inciting violence shows that addressing racism is not high on his priority list.

Trump claims that NFL protests are “a total disrespect of everything that [America] stands for,” when actually the opposite is true. Clearly, the president is not familiar with the first amendment of the constitution nor with what it stands for which is free speech.  Our service people actually fought and sacrificed for the right of American citizens to speak freely and peacefully on matters that concern them. We as Americans might not like the free speech we hear, but we must defend a citizen’s right to say it. That is what America stands for.

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8 Comments

8 Responses to “Editorial: Sports Play A Part In Racial Debate”

  1. Janet Carroll on September 25th, 2017 12:46 pm

    This article was very insightful and so true. We need more articles like this which brings attention to what is actually happening and not a distortion of facts.

  2. Jeff McFarland on September 25th, 2017 11:05 pm

    Well said

  3. James on September 27th, 2017 11:58 am

    I believe that you are the one that does not understand the first amendment. The constitution does not protect your right to freedom of speech in the work place or from your employer to have rules that “limit” freedom of speech or for them to give consequences for expressing opinion in the work place. The constitution states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”, so congress is not allowed to make laws limiting free speech but it does not say anything about a private employer not being allowed to make rules limiting free speech.
    P.S.- your article was extremely biased.

  4. Johnson B on September 29th, 2017 9:10 am

    Very well said James. This article was extremely biased and the author clearly does not know what they are talking about in regards to the first amendment. “Targeting an NFL player for taking a knee and exercising their rights, but not targeting a hate group for inciting violence shows that addressing racism is not high on his priority list.” is a perfect example of a very biased opinion.

  5. Sarah on October 1st, 2017 9:38 pm

    The issue here is not whether they have the right to protest at work (and since the NFL has defended them, I don’t think there is an issue there). The issue is the president getting involved and saying that citizens should be fired for using their first amendment. They are not getting consequences from work and this article is not about that. The president is criticizing, using harsh language, Americans using their first amendment peacefully. The NFL is not making rules at this moment against this but the President is trying to get them punished for it.
    P.S.- the article was no more biased than any other article on this subject.

  6. Maria Gardizy on September 29th, 2017 7:07 am

    An editorial IS an editor’s opinion and insight on a topical issue and therefore it will seem biased to some. This is an incredibly hot topic and a very well written article from the perspective of a thoughtful mind.
    The fact that discussions are being had gives me hope someday we will be color-blind and more tolerant of one another no matter our differences. Nicely done, Mikaela ~ way to use your freedom of speech! 😊

  7. Dan on September 29th, 2017 8:14 am

    This article is strongly biased against the opposing point of view, is extremely flawed, and has false information.

    -The riots is Charlottesville didn’t just have a Neo-Nazi and White Supremacist presence, other hate groups such as Antifa were present

    -Trump condemned both the white nationalist and Antifa, both of which are terrible groups

    -The article claims that Trump is somehow not targeting hate groups in the country, which is false. Trump condemned Antifa, White Nationalist, and other hate groups. Trump even refused David Duke’s endorsement of him during his presidential run. Donald Trump stated on twitter isn’t a matter of race, but a matter of respect for our country. Of course the NFL players have every right to “protest” and kneel, it’s their first amendment right to do so; but the question is, would it be right to do so? Not only has kneeling not solved the rise of racist groups of both sides of the political isle, it divided the country even more than it was before.

    -The claim that the opposing side is of “anti-racist” protesters, which is also false. Groups such as BLM and Antifa have shown racism and bigotry in the past as well, along with the white nationalist. To claim that the opposing group is pitch-perfect clean of racism is ignorant and wrong.

    -“In a league primarily dominated by African American players what better way is there to be able to address social injustices that are happening against their own people?” Yes, this was an actual quote from this article… There are a couple things wrong with this. The “social injustices” that black people today face are almost nonexistent; groups such as BLM use police shootings to justify the claim that blacks aren’t treated fairly. Of course there are racist out there, and any race can be racist, but to claim that African Americans face “social injustices” is an extremely flawed and false statement. African Americans share the same rights and privileges as everyone else in the country does. This article is contradictory; it claims that African Americans face “social injustices”, yet they can use their first amendment right to protest something that isn’t even the source of the “social injustices” some claim to have.

    This article is biased, one sided, and whoever wrote it is ignorant.

  8. Ed on September 29th, 2017 6:16 pm

    Too much bias here. Fail to bring up the 1st amendment is not protected in the workplace. The NFL has a specific rule saying all players must stand but obviously it is being ignored. If players are protesting racial injustice, why don’t they go to the inner cities and help the youth/guide them instead of bringing politics into sports

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