The Kneeling Controversy


Max Horsford, Staff Writer/Broadcaster

One of the nation’s biggest topics recently has to do with NFL players kneeling for the National Anthem. People on the news and online have been taking strong positions on both sides, so we’ve to set and decided to interview a few students to see where Weedsport stands.

If you have watched the news at all the past few weeks you would have seen Donald Trump at a one of his rallies saying that NFL players should be fired if they kneel during the National Anthem. This came off as strange because the whole problem seemed to die down and people were doing it less and less, however he decided to bring it back to the center of attention again. This prompted basically the entire league to take a knee even if they weren’t inclined to do so before. Also just recently, Mike Pence the Vice President, staged a walkout of an Indianapolis Colts San Francisco 49ers game. He got up and left the seats he was sitting in after he saw players protesting the Anthem and said it was unplanned. However he told the bus driving him he’d be back right after the Anthem, meaning he knew they would protest went to the game knowing he wouldn’t stay spending tax dollars to pull a charade to score political points. now, in light of all of this some are on the side of the protesters others think that no one should ever kneel for the Anthem, still others think that it’s all blown out of proportion and they should just play football and move on.

For my interviews I decided to talk with Juniors Jon Wejko, an avid football fan and Ty Follett, the center for the Warriors Football Team. I asked them both the same 5 questions, here are the full interviews.

Q1: Is this the right time or place to protest, and should they be allowed to protest?

Jon: No, this is not the right place to have a whole event, it a business they’re trying to make money not promote a certain idea. It’s all about football and money, that’s what the NFL stands for. And when people go to watch football they spend $500 a ticket just to see people ruining the game. I do respect their right to protest, everyone has the right to protest, but I do feel that is the wrong place to do it but I can’t stop them.

Ty: I think it’s the right place, it’s widely watched, tons of people watch the NFL, and they are taking a knee for racial inequality because they believe it deserves attention. I feel like it’s as good as any because people look up to athletes.

Q2: Is there racial inequality like the protesters claim in America by law enforcement and others?

Jon: Well, by the police, no. The racial inequality that exists is not perpetrated by the police, but I will admit that it is a very deep set part of our culture, it’s not a good thing but it’s just there and been there for a long time. In the police force, minimally, not to the extent that they claim, no.

Ty: Yes. There is definitely racial inequality like they claim, be it police officers or just the way some people act.

Q3: How do you feel about the shaming done by the Steeler’s coach to Alejandro Villanueva? Did he deserve the criticism he got for not being with his team during the Anthem?

Jon: Absolutely not. That man went out and fought for his country, our freedom, he has just as much of a right to stand up as they do to sit down.

Ty: I mean, he served what, like 3 tours in Iraq? And he was a Ranger, I mean he served in the military so he has the choice, you can have your own opinion, It’s not like, “oh well since my coach said it I’m gonna do it” if you look at all the NFL teams, they say they all talk to their players about what they’re gonna do, it’s more up to them. They’d like to be united but they’re grown men out there and they can make their own decisions.

Q4: Should this be as big of a deal as everyone is making it? With it all over the news?

Jon: There’s only one reason that it is all over the news, and that’s Donald Trump. I love him to death alright? He’s-he’s-he’s… our president, and he’s not a bad one. But he should just let it be, it was dying down, there was like 8 people kneeling before he made his comments and now it is the entire league.

Ty: I think all of the anger is stupid, because three quarters of the people that get angry about it think that they’re protesting the flag and that’s not the case. They do it during the anthem because of the words in the Anthem because it is about us being equal and united, they’re not doing it because they hate the flag, they are doing it because they want to see things change.

Q5: What are your thoughts of the Pence walkout and Trumps comments about the players being “S.O.Bs”?

Jon: Freedom of speech and freedom of expression. I don’t see why the Pence walkout is a big deal, if he wants to score political points, let him.

Ty: I watched the news and saw the discussion that they had about Mike Pence and I agree that it was staged, he knew what was going on and he went to a game where you know the team does this. It seems like a political stunt to do this and its un-needed. And Trump calling them S.O.Bs, It’s so stupid, you’re the president of America and you say “these S.O.Bs should be fired”, even if you do have to worry about it, at least say it in a more professional manner like you can’t tell them they can’t do it because it’s their constitutional right to peacefully protest, that’s what we’ve fought wars for, to protect our constitutional rights to protest and that’s what they’re doing.

The two opinions expressed here are basically both sides of the whole argument. For more information about both arguments and more, check out these links: