Despite public outrage from President Trump, people around the world are showing solidarity with the kneelers and taking an affirmative stand against racism and bigotry. This comes after Vice President Mike Pence left a football game between the San Francisco 49ers and Indianapolis Colts in protest after some of the the players knelt during the anthem. Accord
Most recently, on October 14 in Germany members of the soccer team Hertha Berlin took a knee before their game, aligning themselves with the protesting players of the NFL. On Twitter, the team posted an image of the kneeling athletes along with the message, "Hertha BSC stands for tolerance and responsibility! For a tolerant Berlin and an open-minded world, now and forevermore!"
College and high school athletes are weighing in as well. Just a couple miles shy of the White House, cheerleaders at Howard University— an HBCU (Historically Black College or University)— kneeled during the national anthem in both allegiance with the NFL players and in protest of racial inequality.
And the action is not just limited to jocks. In New York, the cast of the Broadway play "Miss Saigon" took a knee after a performance in late September.
According to multiple reports over the weekend, the still unsigned former San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick has filed a grievance against the NFL accusing all 32 teams of collusion to keep him from being signed.
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Ironically, it could be said that most patriotic thing to come out of the government encouraging the NFL to have players on the field during the anthem is the kneeling protests. And despite attacks from the president and threats of disciplinary action by team owners— such as Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys and Stephen Ross of the Miami Dolphins— the NFL players are having an international impact.
What you can do:
Racial justice organization Color of Change has organized two petitions to support players who have decided to peacefully protest during the national anthem. If you feel strongly about the outrage against players who are exercising their first amendment rights here's how you can ally yourself with their cause.
- Sign this petition to let the NFL know that you believe there should be a player's platform for racial equality and criminal justice reform. This would mean the NFL would have to commit itself to advancing racial justice causes in local communities where their teams call home.
- Also, on October 8, ESPN sports commentator Jemele Hill was suspended from the air for two weeks after responding to Jerry Jones's decision to penalize kneeling players with a suggestion that fans boycott the team's advertisers. Sign this petition to show your support for Hill and let the network know that you think it's wrong to silence journalists who speak out against white supremacy.
And then some:
Soccer games in Europe differ from football games in the US in one major way— the national anthems for various countries aren't played before the games. In fact, in the US, players weren't on the field during the national anthem until 2009. According to sports commentator Stephen A Smith, the tradition was a marketing strategy to make the athletes appear more patriotic. Also, the Department of Defense gave millions of dollars of federal funds to professional sports leagues to promote the US military.