On Tuesday, President Donald Trump discussed his thoughts on demonstrations during the anthem in sporting events.
Early morning on August 11, the President went on the Outkick talk show, hosted by Clay Travis. When asked about if the NFL would start-up regularly, The President commented “They want to open and they want to open badly and they’ve been working with the government.”
However, directly after saying this, Trump later added “I would say this, If they don’t stand for the national anthem, I hope they don’t open.”
Trump later elaborated on his comment about the players kneeling for the anthem, saying it was “disrespectful to our flag and our country.” Trump also added he would prefer if teams would protest in other ways.
Trump has made similar comments on June 20, during his Tulsa Rally.
“We will never kneel to our national anthem or our great American flag,” he said Saturday. “We will stand proud, and we will stand tall. I thought we won that battle with the NFL. Their stadiums were emptying out. Did you see those stadiums? Took them a long time to get you back. Lots of people didn’t like that. You know, a lot of people that you wouldn’t even think would care that much. I’ve had people that I said, ‘These are super-left liberals,’ and they didn’t like it.”
What does it mean to kneel during the anthem?
While the act of kneeling during the anthem was popularized by then 49ers, Colin Kapernick, Protesting the anthem has been seen well before Kaepernick took a knee.
A popular example of protesting during the anthem was during the 1972 Summer Olympics. Runner Vincent Mathews and Wayne Collect, both refused to stand in attention for anthem, and instead decided to talk to each other. Both runners were banned from the U.S team soon after.
Kaepernick’s protest was one of the first notable protests during a sporting event since 2004. He along with then fellow 49er, Eric Reid, decided to kneel for the national anthem. Their actions went on for two weeks unnoticed, up until September 1, 2016.
Kaepernick and Reid both explained, that kneeling was to bring up issues of police brutality. Kapernick commented on his actions during a post-game interview, saying “I am not protesting the anthem or the nation, I’m protesting organized brutality. To me, this is much bigger than football and it would be selfish to look the other way.”
In 2018 NFL teams all voted that players were to stand for the anthem or stay back in the locker rooms. Since then, the NFL has declared they will allow players to kneel during the anthem if they choose to.
The NFL will also play “Lift Every Voice in Sing” prior to the national anthem. The NCAAP has dubbed the song, the Black National Anthem.
Week 1 of the NFL 2020 regular season will begin on September 10.
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