(Featured picture courtesy of @TheHill)
Week 4 and 5 of the NFL saw anthem protest drastically drop off after overwhelming number of supporters the weeks prior. After US President Donald Trump called players who knelt for the national anthem “sons of b*****s,” there was a dramatic show of resilience in the face of hate with over 200 players participating in a variety of different anthem protest. Some players knelt, some raised their fist, some linked arms with teammates, some teams and owners band and knelt together like the Dallas Cowboys and some teams such as the Tennessee Titans skipped the anthem all together. Currently the NFL is in talks with owners on whether or not to make standing for the anthem mandatory, fundamentally disregarding the players first amendment; right to freedom of speech and their right to protest. One individual who has straddled the topic since the beginning has been NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Originally Goodell supported his players however in a recent memo, issued to all 32 teams in the NFL, he clearly states that “like many of our fans, we (NFL) believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem…We want to honour our flag and our country and our fans expect that of us.” This statement was felt throughout the NFL as the number of players who knelt in protest considerably dropped in weeks prior. The San Fransisco 49ers have been at the heart of this controversy ever since former 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick garnered national attention for pioneering the anthem protest to protest inequality for minorities and police brutality in America. Week 5 saw a forgettable matchup between the 49ers and Indianapolis Colts become the stage on which Vice President Mike preformed a $200,000 publicity stunt. After members of the 49ers took a knee for the national anthem he left the game and hopped on the private air liner he arrived on all on the American tax payer’s dime. With week 6 approaching and owners and coaches becoming more vocal on their expectations of player etiquette during the anthem it will be interesting to see how the players will respond. If the past 3 weeks have proven anything it’s that the protesting players do no back down in the face of adversity and until they start seeing significant social changes expect to see these protest continue throughout the rest of the season.