Mainstream media blew up last weekend with President Donald Trump’s expletive comments on athletes taking a knee during the national anthem. In response, hundreds of NFL athletes, coaches, and owners joined the peaceful protest by either locking arms, taking a knee, or refusing to leave the locker room during the national anthem. Reminiscent of the election season, social media erupted into a shouting match from those on either side of the argument.

We at The Apollos asked for your opinions and will now share with you some responses we saw (opinions were edited only for grammar and spelling). Thank you all for your responses.

Kevin Shea
Apollos Editor

From Tommie Smith and John Carlos (1968 Summer Olympics), to Muhammad Ali, to Colin Kaepernick—and before, from Patrick Henry to John Brown. Standing, kneeling, raising your fist in support and defiance of oppression, defending to the death the right to say what you believe. This is the United States of America. I personally will never forget these sacrifices. They define our country. I am inspired by each example.

My great-great grandfather, Marten Davis, fought for the Army of the Union – The Adirondack Regiment. And now, in his hometown of Elizabethtown, NY—just 50 minutes east and the County Seat of Essex County—the racist stars and bars of the confederacy fly in front of homes and on vehicles.

I forcefully object. I. Forcefully. Object.

Celebrate peaceful protests of injustice. Speak out against racism and hate. Always. I promise that I will. Forever. God Bless our Union. The United States of America.

Ray Agnew

Kneeling during the national anthem is the most ridiculous act any NFL player could do to bring attention to any problem. By not standing and paying attention to the flag of the United States of America, you are disrespecting the men and women who put their lives on the line every day. The men and women of our armed forces have fought and died for all of us to have the right to see our families, friends and loved ones every day. So if paying respect to them means that we stand and acknowledge the star spangled banner, then by God that’s what we all need to do. Especially a football player who gets paid millions of dollars for playing a game I played for “free” throughout my childhood. I praise the owner of the Dallas Cowboys who told his team that anyone who kneels during the national anthem will be fired. The entire NFL should have that rule. So to the players who kneel during the national anthem, take your heads out of that dark hole, and pay some respect to the people who are overseas defending your right to be so arrogant.

River Payne

Here’s my bit.

The whole discussion reeks of political idealism and orthodox nationalism. I’ll gladly stand up in support of freedom or individualism or liberty, but I don’t want to be forced to stand for a piece of cloth that has so many nuanced concepts attached to it—and not all of those good. I don’t want to be forced to stand for a flag that has represented endless unconstitutional wars, erosion of civil liberties, and modern imperialism to people all across the world. Directly associating the flag with this perfectionist view of America seems almost cult-like. So many people demand unconditional respect and reverence to the flag without thinking about the political orthodoxy they’re enforcing.

Besides that, I’m still baffled that this is what people decided to get angry about—not the prevalence of domestic abuse or DUIs within the NFL, but kneeling in silent, peaceful protest over the current political climate.

Jared Barnhart

I personally find it disrespectful to kneel during the national anthem, and will not support NFL nor go to anymore games while they continue to do so. At the same time I do respect peoples’ right to freedom of speech and have no problem with someone peacefully protesting or expressing the way they feel. To able to do those things is what makes our country so great. But I find it hypocritical to disrespect something that symbolizes the very thing that gives you those rights. In my opinion if you want to protest against the injustices in our country do it before or after the national anthem but not during the national anthem.

Alexander Tatoian

“Take a Knee, the New All Lives Matter.”

“You’re a ball player just play ball,” they say.

You are a president, worry about politics, I say.

Puerto Rico, North Korea, Healthcare, is this obsession with the NFL some sort of distraction?

If only they knew the injustices that we face every single day.

Oh say can you see, by the dawn’s early light.

Our American Flag being worn across her intimate parts; this has to be some sort of infraction!

The disrespect of our flag being used for marketing on a bud light.

“How dare he take a knee. How dare he disrespect our flag!”

“Doesn’t he know that flag is the reason he is privileged to be where he is in life?”

Too bad they didn’t see that money was not enough to cover up his melanin, Michael Bennett.

“I can’t breathe!” “I can’t breathe!” “He was clearly a criminal who deserved to die.”

If only they knew his only crime was being the wrong color which put him in a black bag.

“S.O.B’s versus very nice people”. – #45

Father, son, teacher, when is it that we will really be seen as equal?

How can I be so woke yet so exhausted? I’m fed up.

If only they knew being born white put you ten levels up.

“If you don’t like it here go back to where you came from!”

Like Nick Cannon said, sometimes I wish we weren’t brought here in the first place.

I stand with Kaepernick

All lives don’t matter until black lives matter.

I support our military and every American’s entitlement to what soldiers have lost their lives protecting and honoring, our 1st Amendment right.

Colin Kaepernick took a knee to use his platform as a way to bring to light the injustices those in the African American communities face daily. It wasn’t about anti-Trump (he started this prior to Trump in office) not about hatred towards our police nor was it intended to be out of disrespect to our flag. He remains unsigned by any NFL team which in reality is because of the baggage these owners see coming with him. No one wants to step out of their comfort zone in order to talk openly about our country’s past and racial issues. I support our veterans and the military. My stance on these issues is that we can not dictate when and where our freedom of speech applies. Whether we agree or not, you have the right to peacefully protest.

Many individuals praise these African American athletes up until the point that they speak their minds and voices their opinions. That’s when you just become an S.O.B as the president of this free world calls it, rather than what you are intended to be, entertainment.

Averie Urena

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