By Rocky Fodali, Trending Writer
To formulate a cogent argument against the protesting of the anthem, it is crucial to focus on why these protests began in the first place. With the presence of social injustices like bigoted rhetoric and police brutality constantly in the news, athletes reached a breaking point and decided enough was enough. In hopes of inspiring change, players like Kaepernick began protesting the anthem, believing that the most effective way to protest the injustice would be through protesting the anthem on national television. However, at this point, it is clear that this approach is rather ineffective and counterproductive at reaching the desired result of social reform. Instead of everyone talking about what needs to change in society, outlets like ESPN are producing stories regarding the power of NFL executives over the players and stories of Roger Goodell. The real meaning of the protest is undeniably being diluted. Additionally, many individuals, especially those who have risked their lives to serve this country, believe the players’ actions are disrespectful to their sacrifice. Former President Barack Obama recognized the ineffectiveness of their method. He said, “As a general matter, when it comes to the flag, the national anthem, and the meaning that holds for our men and women in uniform and those who’ve fought for us — that is a tough thing for them to get past to then hear what his [Kaepernick’s] deeper concerns are.” Clearly, NFL athletes have chosen a path too controversial and divisive to achieve social reform as people around the country are focusing on the controversy of the protests rather than meaning behind them.
Owners have recently come out to express their business concerns as well. Despite being the most profitable league in the country, the NFL is already at risk of losing revenues as other issues such as CTE are beginning to pose a threat to the league. With anthem protests becoming commonplace, TV ratings have gone down as the situation continues to drag on and complicate itself. If the ratings continue to plummet, then the voices of the players will also diminish. Athletes are unknowingly reducing their influence and esteem within the community by offending a significant portion of the population. Therefore, in offending a national tradition, the players are only shrinking their own platform.
To truly impact the situation, the players should combat the problem directly. Instead of kneeling for the national anthem, players should reach out to their local communities, perhaps helping to educate the youth while also trying to reach out to local law enforcement to try to remedy the problem. Nationally, they could organize a walk on Washington. They need to directly attack the issue or reform simply will not happen.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, October 24th print edition.
Contact Rocky at