President Donald Trump continues to pressure the NFL to punish players who do not stand for the national anthem after another weekend of sideline protests.
The issue could reach a crucial turning point on Tuesday when NFL team owners will hold their regularly scheduled meeting in New York. The league says it wants players to stand for the anthem, but also says it respects their opinions on social issues.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has been the most outspoken team owner on the issue and now faces backlash for his public views. Local community activists believe Jones, and even the president, have hijacked the narrative by making recent protests on the football field about disrespecting the American flag when they say it’s always been about race relations and police brutality.
“Your players should be free to express themselves,” said Freddie Haynes with the Friendship West Baptist Church. “Your players should be free to kneel for the national anthem. Because when they kneel for the national anthem, they are standing up for what America is all about.”
When asked about the ‘no kneeling’ mandate last Wednesday, Cowboys players remained silent.
However, one group of protestors are a lot more vocal and are using the Dallas Police Department as a symbolic backdrop. They say the movement has always been about peacefully protesting race relations in America.
“Because, under this, I am a black man. And black lives do matter,” said protestor Ernest Walker.
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who started the protest movement last season, is now taking his case to court. Over the weekend, the free agent filed a grievance under the collective bargaining agreement, claiming no NFL team will sign him because of collusion by team owners upset by his actions.
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