NFL players emphasize reasons for anthem demonstration


Whereas the NFL continues discussions with the players’ union concerning a nationwide anthem coverage, players who display are emphasizing they’re protesting social injustice, racial inequality and systematic oppression.

They aren’t in opposition to the nation, navy, flag or “The Star-Spangled Banner” itself.

President Donald Trump desires players to “discover one other option to protest” and contended “most of them are unable to outline” what they’re demonstrating in opposition to.

Players, nevertheless, have made clear their place quite a few occasions.

“I believe a part of the issue is that if you proceed the rhetoric that that is controversial or that is one way or the other a unfavorable factor, individuals deal with it as such,” Philadelphia Eagles security Malcolm Jenkins mentioned after resuming his demonstration earlier than Thursday evening’s recreation. “However we have seen in different leagues once they’ve determined to amplify the voices of their players to additionally emphasize the significance of the problems that we’re elevating, and alter the narrative away from the anthem, that not solely is it extra acceptable, the fan base will get educated on what we’re speaking about, and we are able to really make some motion.”

Jenkins stopped his demonstration final season after the NFL dedicated $90 million US over the subsequent seven years to social justice causes in a three-segment plan that includes league players.

Jenkins and some teammates wore a T-shirt earlier than the sport that learn on the entrance: “Greater than 60 per cent of jail populations are individuals of color.” On the again, it mentioned: “Practically 5,000 children are in grownup prisons and jails. .SchoolsNotPrisons.”

The league and the NFLPA have but to announce a coverage for this season concerning demonstrations through the anthem after the league initially ordered everybody to face on the sideline when the anthem is performed, or stay within the locker room.

Present a greater possibility

League spokesman Brian McCarthy declined remark Friday and reiterated his assertion Thursday evening, saying “constructive” discussions are ongoing with the union.

“I perceive that it is a enterprise and also you need to defend your backside line and all of that, however on the finish of the day, I believe the neatest factor proper now could be to not have a rule and supply a greater possibility,” Jenkins mentioned.

Teammate Chris Lengthy confirmed his help for Jenkins, as he did final season, by placing his arm round him.

“Malcolm is taking motion and he can all the time sleep good at evening realizing that he isn’t being a fraud,” Lengthy mentioned. “He is [demonstrating] and he is working locally, like plenty of these guys are doing.”

In Miami, Dolphins receivers Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson kneeled behind teammates lined up standing alongside the sideline. Defensive finish Robert Quinn stood and raised his proper fist.

“If you happen to proceed to misread what we’re doing, attain out to me, check out my web site, check out my Twitter, all my social media platforms,” Stills mentioned. “I believe you will get a greater thought of why we’re doing what we’re doing and possibly you may come to the opposite facet and begin supporting us.”

Stills mentioned “it will take so much” for him to cease protesting.

“A superb first step for us as a league could be acknowledging what they’re doing to Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid,” Stills mentioned. “You possibly can’t say as a league you help the players and their protests after which blackball the players who initially began the protests. To come back to the drafting board and speak about options, we have to begin there as a league, after which we are able to begin drawing up different options to a few of these different issues.”

Kaepernick, the previous San Francisco 49ers quarterback, started the motion in 2016 and was joined by teammate Eric Reid. Each are unemployed — Kaepernick did not play final season, both — and have pending collusion grievances in opposition to the NFL.

Kaepernick tweeted help for Stills and Wilson.

Wilson mentioned he feels extra free to specific himself with the Dolphins than he did with the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs, however did not elaborate.

“You get plenty of backlash for doing this,” Wilson mentioned. “No person desires to deliver the unfavorable consideration to themselves, however when you have got a platform like this and also you’re in a position to converse on sure conditions, you need to do this. We’re not harming anyone.”

Writing on Twitter from his New Jersey golf resort, Trump mentioned Friday players “make a fortune doing what they love,” and people who refuse to face “proudly” for the anthem needs to be suspended with out pay.

‘It is not a protest. It is an consciousness’

Quinn had a strong message for critics.

“It is not a protest. It is an consciousness,” he mentioned. “I believe ‘protest’ segregates this nation. The notice we’re attempting to lift — this nation preaches freedom and unity. That is all I am attempting to do. If you happen to imagine in one thing, irrespective of the results you stand by it. I need heaven right here on Earth. I imagine we preach an excessive amount of negativity all through this complete world. I believe the message that must be unfold is peace, love and happiness.

“Listening to the slander that we’re protesting the flag, that is not it. It is not a protest. It is no disrespect to any servicemen or ladies on the market. They salute with their hand over their coronary heart, I maintain my fist up. How will you have a look at that any totally different? That salute is simply as significant to them as my fist within the air.”

Three Seahawks players, Branden Jackson, Quinton Jefferson and Duane Brown, left the sector following group introductions and earlier than the beginning of the anthem Thursday evening.

“I believe there are lots of people which might be supportive of the players after which there are a few individuals which were very vocal in opposition to it. These individuals have energy,” Brown mentioned. “We’ll see what occurs.”



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