I Pledge Allegiance To Players’ Right To Kneel

The National Football League’s announced in late May that there would be a newly enacted National Anthem policy which requires players that are on the field for the anthem to stand or gives players the option to stay in the locker room.

It is widely believed that this policy change created by the NFL owners was provoked by President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.  Last fall, then San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was photographed sitting down during the National Anthem. When later asked in an interview with NFL Network’s Steve Wyche, what was his reasoning for sitting down Kaepernick cited his concern with the racial and economic injustices facing minorities in this country and specifically African-Americans. Kaepernick’s response was the start of a season-long controversial peaceful protest that gained the nation’s attention as he and several of his NFL counterparts elected to kneel for the anthem.

This new policy requires players and personnel to pay a fine if they do not stand during the National Anthem. The National Football League Players Association (NFLPA), the labor organization representing the professional American football players in the NFL, was excluded from voting on the new policy. 

(L-R) San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Eli Harold, quarterback Colin Kaepernick and safety Eric Reid kneel during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

In 1791, ten amendments were ratified to protect U.S. citizens’ rights under the newly established government system; formally known as the Bill of Rights. These rights were created to protect citizens’ natural rights and ability to freely express oneself. More specifically, the first amendment grants citizens the right to exercise their religion, freedom of speech, and freedom to peacefully assemble. That was of course until August of 2017 when Kaepernick’s protest began.

NFL players have shown their patriotism through their involvement in social activism, community service, in support of our military and law enforcement and yes, through their protests to raise awareness about the issues they care about beyond the field.

Kaepernick decided to continue to exercise his first amendment right by kneeling during the playing of the National Anthem before each game until he believed the “system” was doing something to fix the ongoing issues of police brutality as well as the African-American community suffering from oppression at the hands of the government.

It is believed that Kaepernick’s protest led to the 30-year-old’s lack of work. In March 2017, Kaepernick opted out of the final year of his contract with the 49ers. Though he expressed interest in continuing his career in the NFL, that interest has not been returned by the part of any of the other 31 NFL teams. For months, Kaepernick’s free agent status has continued.

San Francisco 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick (7) and Eric Reid (35) kneel during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)

According to a recent Forbes article, the New York Times provided proof of Trump financially threatening to harm the NFL in an October 2017 meeting. Kaepernick believes there was some slander of his reputation to influence the commissioners’ decision to keep him as a free agent, which has led to Kaepernick’s legal team subpoenaing Trump.

The new anthem policy is a violation of the players first amendment rights; it takes away the players’ voice, freedom to express themselves, and their freedom to peacefully assemble and petition, and it is therefore unconstitutional. Kaepernick risked losing his job to kneel for what he believes in and exercised his right to protest peacefully.

Athletes have a powerful platform; some of which are beginning to realize can make a big difference in the world. With the NFL stripping their right to protest for what they believe in raises the question, are we (U.S. citizens) actually free? If a national sports organization can remove players’ constitutional rights without any consequences, this could be the start of a ripple effect. A peaceful protest that began as a hope to bring awareness to police and social injustice has resulted in the NFL’s attempt to silence its players.

Rams Minicamp 2018 Day 1

The Rams commenced mandatory minicamp on Tuesday at the practice facility in Thousand Oaks, CA.

3 Takeaways from Rams Minicamp Day 1

1. The NFL’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald was a no-show at day one of the Rams mandatory minicamp. Head coach Sean McVay confirmed he will not be reporting to minicamp as the contract negotiations continue. Continue reading “Rams Minicamp 2018 Day 1”

L.A. Rams Partner with Inglewood Vons for Ham Giveawaway

The Los Angeles Rams are not only making their way into the hearts of the Los Angeles community through their on-field success, the team is making sure to spread holiday cheer to families through their annual “Hams for Hunger” giveaway. On Tuesday December 19, players and cheerleaders from the Rams joined volunteers from the Inglewood Police Department, Albertsons/Vons/Pavilions and Hormel at a local Vons in Inglewood, CA, to pass out 14,000 hams for families in need.

“We’re blessed to go out on that stage and do what we do, but we were out here as little kids at one moment,” said Rams linebacker Cameron Lynch, who was born in Long Beach. “It’s nice to come out here and show that we’re human too. I put this jersey on just like anyone else put their shirt on this morning.”

Once families received a ham, they were able to partake in a day filled with activities. Families participated in giveaways and games, danced to the sounds of the DJ and children were offered free face paint.

Continue reading “L.A. Rams Partner with Inglewood Vons for Ham Giveawaway”

L.A. Chargers Tie for #1 in AFC West with Win Over Browns

The Los Angeles Chargers have gone from an 0-4 start to now winning three consecutive games with the latest being a moral victory against the winless Cleveland Browns. The  Los Angeles football club is now positioned atop the AFC West in a three-way tie with the Kansas City Chiefs and the Oakland Raiders.

“To be in this position doesn’t surprise me at all,” said Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn.”Guys have worked hard and they’re committed to the process. They never stopped believing.”

One of the players Lynn highlighted was cornerback Casey Hayward who spent the week away from the team after his brother was killed in a car accident on Monday (Nov. 27) night. Hayward rejoined his teammates for one day of practice just in time to play in Sunday’s matchup against the Browns.

Continue reading “L.A. Chargers Tie for #1 in AFC West with Win Over Browns”

Rams Snap Saints Winning Streak with 26-20 Victory

The Rams showed a complete team effort supported by an elite kicker, a consistent pass rush and a developing quarterback to pull off a 26-20 victory against the Saints at the Coliseum on Sunday, Nov. 26. After suffering a loss in Minneapolis last week, the Rams came away with their best win of the season, snapping the Saints eight-game winning streak.

“I think ultimately what we have now is a lot of confidence,” said Rams quarterback Jared Goff. “We don’t care who lines up against us, we’re going to go out and play our game and execute to the best of our ability.”

Continue reading “Rams Snap Saints Winning Streak with 26-20 Victory”