President Trump and NFL Logo (Image source: Official portrait of President Trump and Twitter/@NFL)

The continuing protest by NFL players who are ‘taking a knee’ during the playing of the national anthem has gone international. On Sunday, most of the players of the Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars players knelt for the national anthem at Wembley Stadium in London. The protest included coaches, assistants and even a team owner who locked arms in unison and support for the kneeling players. So far, nine NFL football teams have engaged in protest today.

Trump entered the protest debate by stating during a public appearance on Friday, Sept. 22. “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a b—- off the field right now.”

Trump later added fuel to the fire by tweeting:

“If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL, or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect…. our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem. If not, YOU’RE FIRED. Find something else to do!”

He followed up with a series of tweets before the London game:

“Roger Goodell of NFL just put out a statement trying to justify the total disrespect certain players show to our country. Tell them to stand!

“If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend!

“NFL attendance and ratings are WAY DOWN. Boring games yes, but many stay away because they love our country. League should back U.S.

Almost a year ago Colin Kaepernick knelt during the playing of the national anthem while he was a member of the San Francisco 49ers. Kaepernick has not been signed by an NFL team since his protest swept the nation.

Mike Tomlin, coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, issued a statement that said his team will not be on the field for the playing of the national anthem. Pete Carroll, coach of the Seattle Seahawks stated to CNN, “This is New day, time for a change.” He went on to say players are the messengers that can reach the young people. He called for a change in the mindset that allows inequality in America to persist.

America is being swept with protests in direct opposition to President Trump and continuing social injustice. Black athletes are confronted with the reality that faced other Blacks who protested against social injustice during Jim Crow. The reality of “Shut up N-word or lose your job” has motivated players to take a knee in defiance of the president of the United States. NFL owners have chimed in with statements in support of the players and their protest actions.

Mo Barnes

“Mo Betta”
Maurice “Mo” Barnes is a graduate of Morehouse College and Political Scientist based in Atlanta. Mo is also a Blues musician.