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Posts Tagged ‘American football’

Take a knee – why are NFL players kneeling during the US national anthem and what is the row with Donald Trump all about?

Thursday, May 31st, 2018

Why are NFL players kneeling during the US national anthem?

 

The Take a Knee movement was started by quarterback Colin Kaepernick who knelt before a pre-season game for the San Francisco 49ers in 2016.

Kaepernick had said: “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of colour.

“To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

The poignant display has been adopted by the Black Lives Matter movement.

Other footballers have followed in Kaepernick’s footsteps and a verbal attack on those who protest by Trump prompted the largest-scale anti-racism protests in the league yet.

Who took part in the protests?

Protests were seen at every NFL game held in the United States, as well as at a match held at Wembley Stadium, in London.

Thirty of the 32 teams in the NFL released official statements after Donald Trump said those who protested during the national anthem should be sacked.

Across the country players knelt, sat or linked arms on the touchline as national anthem Star Spangled Banner was played.

A match between Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars held in London saw two dozen players take a knee.

Others including Jaguars owner Shad Khan – who donated £1million to Trump’s presidential campaign – stood and locked arms.

Both teams later stood as God Save the Queen was played.

Mr Khan said: “I met with our team captains prior to the game to express my support for them, all NFL players and the league following the divisive and contentious remarks made by President Trump, and was honoured to be arm in arm with them, their team-mates and our coaches during our anthem.”

Players from the Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks and Tenessee Titans remained in their locker rooms while the anthem was played.

 

Which celebrities have supported the protests?

Stars including Stevie Wonder, Pharrell Williams, John Legend and Bette Midler have rounded on Donald Trump after he criticised NFL stars.

Singer-songwriter Stevie Wonder showed his backing for the #TakeAKnee movement at the Global Citizen Festival in New York’s Central Park.

Stevie Wonder told the music festival: “Tonight, I’m taking a knee for America.

“But not just one knee, I’m taking both knees, both knees in prayer for our planet, our future, our leaders of the world and our globe – amen.”

Pharrell Williams also dropped to one knee as he performed at the Concert for Charlottesville – organised after a woman was killed protesting against a white supremacist rally.

He said: “If I want to get on my knees right now for the people of my city, for the people of my state, that’s what this flag is for.”

Singer and actress Midler wrote: “A truth that Trump will not acknowledge, is that Take A Knee is not about disrespect for the flag. It’s about protesting police brutality.”

Chat show host Ellen DeGeneres also tweeted her support saying: “As a football fan, I am proud of the NFL players today. Nothing is more American than the right to peacefully protest.”

Singer John Legend said the protests are the “definition of patriotism”.

Writing for the publication Slate, he said: “I sing for a living – no one would want me on their NFL team. But if I could, I’d take a knee on Sundays.

“Because these conversations are necessary for progress … they are the definition of patriotism.”

Meanwhile actress Olivia Wilde shared an image from the stage of her Broadway production of 1984, writing on Instagram: “Proud to be a part of this cast, who took a knee as our curtain closed today.”

 

 

 Baltimore Ravens players kneel during the playing of the US national anthem at Wembley Stadium in London