Over the last few years, there has remained much conflict over kneeling during the national anthem. It has been a sticking point for criticism that the NFL has struggled to address. There have been some steps forward toward providing support to its players in that decision. With that said, commissioner Roger Goodell has finally cleared the air about kneeling during the national anthem.
Controversy remains over kneeling during the national anthem
Since Colin Kaepernick first elected to kneel during the national anthem in the 2016 season, it has drawn plenty of criticism.
It has primarily been the reason why Kaepernick has remained outside the NFL. There remains misinterpretation regarding the reasoning for kneeling that continues to be tied to disrespecting the American flag and the military.
That point of view is where the contention lies in the entire conversation over the last few years. There has been a resurgence in that discussion’s prominence, especially after the increased push for social change in the United States. That has put the talk around kneeling front and center, with many still holding sharp criticisms toward that action.
That was the case for New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees before he took harsh feedback from many of his colleagues regarding his comments. Nonetheless, the discussion around kneeling remains, and commissioner Roger Goodell has finally spoken out on the topic.
Roger Goodell finally sets the record straight about kneeling
Throughout the last few years, Roger Goodell has remained publicly hesitant to move behind kneeling during the national anthem.
However, that stance looks to have changed, as Goodell stated during a recent interview with Emmanuel Acho that kneeling has nothing to do with the American flag or military.
“It’s not about the flag. What our players are doing here, it’s being mischaracterized. These are not people who are unpatriotic. They are not disloyal. They are not against our military. In fact, many of those guys were in the military and they are military family. What they are trying to do is exercise their right to bring attention to something that needs to get fixed. That misrepresentation of who they were and what they were doing was the thing that really gnawed at me.”
In the same interview, Goodell pointed out that he wants to apologize to Kaepernick for not listening earlier. He also wishes that he would have had a better understanding much sooner so that the NFL could have used their platform to help spread awareness and generate change.
It may be difficult for many to believe Goodell’s words given his actions over the last few years, but it’s an opportunity for him to take a step forward. The NFL has a tremendous platform across the country, which its support for the players looking for social change is a progressive step in the right direction.
Ultimately, only time will tell if Goodell’s actions back his words.
NFL players will be kneeling during the 2020 season
Beyond Roger Goodell finally airing public support for the players who kneel, there is still more action.
One of which will see many decide to kneel during the national anthem in the 2020 season. That has seen players such as J.J. Watt, Kyler Murray, Adrian Peterson, Baker Mayfield, and Alvin Kamara all stating that they will kneel this upcoming campaign.
There will likely be many more to go that route to emphasize further the need for social change in the United States. At the same time, there shouldn’t be any disdain toward those that elect to stand during the national anthem. It should be a shared sentiment with any substantial criticism in either direction.
There is much in the way that still needs to change, but with Goodell finally garnering a greater understanding of the intent and message behind kneeling, it’s a significant step forward.