In 2016, quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem in protest of police brutality and violence against people of color. It was a decision that was seen as controversial by many and that hurt his career, making him the least popular NFL player in 2016.
Earlier this week, President Trump called attention to the form of silent protest at a campaign rally, saying: “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out. He’s fired. He’s fired!’”
Trump proceeded to unleash a series of tweets directed at the NFL in the following days.
“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!”
The NFL Players Association, the NFL and more have condemned Trump’s remarks and several sports teams have released statements defending their players’ rights to protest and standing with them. A MLB player knelt during the national anthem this weekend for the first time ever, and today (September 24), several members of nearly every NFL team that played knelt or locked arms in a show of resistance. The Seattle Seahawks bowed out of the anthem altogether, and the Pittsburgh Steelers remained off-field.
Now, celebrities are taking to their various social platforms to show support for the players who choose to protest.
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#Iwillharness my energy for good! I Wrote this piece after an inspiring day 〰Today was a reminder that the movement is undefined, the movement forgets no one, the movement is unity, is love, is solidarity, is joy, is self care, is taking a knee, is revolutionary. The movement is as fluid as the people in it and represents our collective humanity and a recognition of one another as deserving of love. ⚡️⚡️ thank you to @iwillharness @americaferrera @wilmervalderrama @michaelskolnik @ryanpierswilliams and all of the speakers for a flood of inspiration and a reminder of how essential our artistry and activism is ✨
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Donald Embarrassment-to-us-all Trump called an American citizen exercising his right to free speech, who is peacefully protesting violence + racism, a "son of a bitch." Trump called a group of NAZIS chanting racial slurs who murdered an American citizen "very fine people." Let that sink in. I'm damn proud to count myself as a son of a bitch by those standards. #TakeAKnee #ProtestInPower #EradicateHate #ImpeachOrange • And for ANYONE daring to say that non-violent protest disrespects anyone who has served our country?? NO. Your right to free speech, your right to protest?? Those are rights FOUGHT FOR AND DIED FOR by our men and women in the military. Our Constitution matters. You don't like that American citizens are offended by a song that has a third stanza which boasts about murdering slaves?? Maybe you think our ancestors who murdered human beings based on the color of their skin were "very fine people?" Well then you're against everything our servicemen and women have died for too.