Trump vs. NFL
by Ruben Prawer
It has been difficult to ignore the recent mixing of politics and sports with regards to the National Football League (NFL) and President Trump. The President has repeatedly expressed his disgust with players, coaches, and owners who take a knee (or fail to stop their players from doing so) during the pre-game performance of the Star-Spangled Banner. For instance, during the rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner, the Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans remained off the field for the most part. President Trump has also said that those players who kneel should be fired, and on September 24, he tweeted that the, “NFL should change policy” to force players to stand. Subsequently, many people began linking arms as the National Anthem played as a demonstration of unity.
This recent controversy began during the 2016-2017 season under President Obama, when then-NFL quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, initially sat and later switched to taking a knee during the pre-game anthem to protest racial discrimination, especially at the hands of police. Kaepernick is not currently on any NFL roster almost halfway through the 2017-2018 season, as most teams said the controversy he brings would be too much of a distraction. While different players have different views on the topic they have not let their differences come between them. As Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers coach said, “The big thing is that we remain united ... We will not be divided by this. We've got a group of men in there that come from different socioeconomic backgrounds, races, creeds, ethnicities, religions and so forth. That's football ... Some have opinions, some don't. We wanted to protect those who don't and we wanted to protect those who do. We came here to play a football game today, and that was our intention." Tomlin and Steelers coaches stood on the sideline for the national anthem, while all but one player stood in the tunnel, before their week 3 matchup against the Bears.
Many teams were booed by fans for kneeling during the Anthem, but the Dallas Cowboys along with head coach, Jason Garrett, and team owner, Jerry Jones, seem to have found a balance between protesting and respecting the National Anthem as they linked arms and knelt before the National Anthem in week 3. Garrett was quoted as saying that "The objectives, as much as anything else, were to somehow, some way demonstrate unity and demonstrate equality and do so without any way involving the American flag and the national anthem. It took a lot of conversations about how to do that … Our players … were so thoughtful and they were open with each other … I'm sure they worked through some disagreements and differences of opinion … Unity and the importance of expressing our support for equality in our country -- those were the things that rose to the forefront ... Ultimately, we figured out a way to accomplish those goals." President Trump actually told Jerry Jones he’d found a policy from the NFL that dictates players must stand for the national anthem, according to reports. Trump said to Jones: “This could have all been resolved.” The NFL rule book may not mention the national anthem, but the game operations manual certainly does. However, the NFL does not plan on forcing players to stand during the National Anthem.
The latest incident occurred on Sunday, October 8, when Vice President Pence made a special appearance at the 49ers-Colts game, but left before he could get to see a minute of play. Mr. Pence and his wife rose to their feet for the national anthem, but after seeing members of the 49ers team take a knee, they walked out of the stadium. Mr. Pence later wrote on Twitter, “I left today's Colts game because @POTUS and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem.” This dispute has greatly escalated within the past year and many people are speaking out on both sides, including NFL quarterbacks Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and Cam Newton and NBA All-Stars Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry.
Editors-in-Chief: Caylie Tuerack, Ben Baruch
Assistant Editors: Leeal Kahen
Writing Staff: Dalia Etessami, Anna Glasman, Sophie Goldman, Daniel Kroll
Junior Writers: Rachel Ashourzadeh, Adriel Kohananoo, Kayla Kreinik, Rachel Sarraf, Halli Fein, Dylan Makani, Aviram Nessim, Ruben Prawer, Mikael Rahmani, Gabriella Nassimiha, Rebecca Farca, Shlomo Shaulian, Nathan Maidi
Faculty Advisor: Mrs. April Zabinsky