Members of the Cleveland Browns decided to kneel down during the playing of the national anthem during Monday night’s pre-season game against the Giants. A dozen players knelt while other players rested their hands on the kneeling player’s shoulders in a show of solidarity.
In what is becoming a more common occurrence, football players are choosing to voice their political opinions through acts on the field, much to the chagrin of spectators both in stadium and at home.
One of the main reasons given was as a statement against racial injustice: “There’s a lot of racial and social injustices in the world that are going on right now,” rookie safety Jabrill Peppers said. “We just decided to take a knee and pray for the people who have been affected and just pray for the world in general.”
Another player, Seth DeSalve (the first white NFL player known to have taken a knee), states that the protest was about “lack of equal opportunity”:
“It saddens me that in 2017 we have to do something like that,” DeValve said. “I personally would like to say that I love this country. I love our national anthem. I’m very grateful to the men and women who have given their lives and give a lot every day to protect this courtly and serve this country. I want to honor them as much as I can.”
“The United States is the greatest country in the world. It is because it provides opportunities to citizens that no other country does. The issue is that it doesn’t provide equal opportunity to everybody. I wanted to support my African-American teammates today who wanted to take a knee.”
Many commentors on Social Media are frustrated with DeSalve, asking whether he realizes that “equality of opportunity” is protected more in the United States than in any other country in the world, and that “equality of opportunity is NOT the same as equality of results.”
The “take a knee” protest has been supported by companies like ESPN who have seen their subscribers turning away by the millions over the last few years (more than 10 million in three years), citing their “left-leaning political stance.”
Deadspin’s Kevin Draper does not adhere to the idea that ESPN is losing customers because of political posturing; instead he blames it on different viewing habits. His view is rebutted by the Spectator’s David Hogberg, who says: “When people tune into a sports program, they expect to see sports, not liberal diatribes. It’s hardly a stretch to suggest that some conservative viewers will tire of left-wing politics and drop their subscriptions. Indeed, that may be one reason some people are switching to mobile!”
Hogberg backs up his point by citing an independent survey that shows that 56% of viewers are very turned off by the “juvenile idiocy” of anthem protests.