Trump’s Petition Infringes Rights

Kortni Baughman, Reporter

National Football League players have taken to kneeling during the performance of the national anthem to protest police brutality and the killing of unarmed blacks in the United States. This form of protest was started by Colin Kaepernick in 2016, when he refused to stand during the national anthem during a preseason game. These players are also speaking out against the racial injustice in the United States judicial system.

In response to this, President Trump filed a petition that requires NFL players to stand for the national anthem when played at the beginning of NFL football games. The petition states that if the players refuse to stand they will be suspended from the NFL. Despite pressures placed on the players, the NFL is not making any moves to support this petition.

“The league believes everyone should stand for the national anthem but would not change its policies to force players to do so,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell stated in an article that appeared in the New York Post.

People are upset that these protests are causing separation at NFL events and causing tension in what used to be a unifying game. Trump’s petition is further separating the NFL and the country as it is causing turmoil in social justice. The petition is aggravating the problem and infringing on NFL’s players’ right of freedom of speech. These players should not have to stand and support something that they don’t.

Everyone in the United States has a right to free speech. NFL players should not have to give up that right in order to play in the NFL. Some may say this goes beyond freedom of speech and is just disrespectful and should not be aloud in a national league. However, the league does not require players to stand and these players are kneeling rather than sitting to show respect.

Contrary to Trump’s claim that his petition will bring the country together by stopping the disrespectful action of not standing for the national anthem, the petition is further separating the country in a setting where people, regardless of their political beliefs, should be able to come together.

Petition supporters argue that the petition is trying to unify the NFL and keep everyone happy. However, following through with this petition could cause waves within the NFL by angering the players. These strong emotions would permeate beyond the game and cause more disputes off the field.

Trump’s petition is bringing more negative attention to an already sensitive topic. By creating this petition it can be interpreted that trump is encouraging racial injustice. NFL players who are kneeling are protesting a justice system that is not treating blacks fairly. By taking away this protest, Trump is indirectly (or directly?) supporting this unfair justice system. Trump argues that he is trying to stop this negative attention by keeping players from “disrespecting the flag” by requiring them to stand and thus keeping the issue of social injustice from spreading. However, he is amplifying the situation by speaking out against the opinions of these NFL players and bringing more attention to the situation.

Trump’s petition for requiring players of the NFL to stand during the national anthem is disrespectful. He is taking away these NFL player’s rights as citizens. These players should be allowed to express their opinions in the ways they choose to. As president, Trump should not put himself in a position where he is infringing in the rights of his citizens. Trump should remove himself from the situation and allow these football players to use their freedom of speech. These NFL players know that others will have different opinions and will have to deal with the backlash of their decisions and actions. Trump should not be trying to take their rights away and should not be putting himself in the middle of this situation. He should listen to the complaints of the people of the United States and work towards a solution that will benefit everybody.

On Oct. 15, 2017, in a game against the Washington Redskins, some San Francisco 49ers players kneel during the National Anthem. National Football League players are kneeling as a sign of protest against police brutality and unfair treatment of Black Americans. Protests made by the NFL players began in 2016.