'Complicated Issue': Scholars Explain NFL's Kneeling Controversy

© AP Photo / Matt YorkIn this Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, file photo, the Dallas Cowboys, led by owner Jerry Jones, center, take a knee prior to the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals in Glendale, Ariz. What began more than a year ago with a lone NFL quarterback protesting police brutality against minorities by kneeling silently during the national anthem before games has grown into a roar with hundreds of players sitting, kneeling, locking arms or remaining in locker rooms, their reasons for demonstrating as varied as their methods.
In this Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, file photo, the Dallas Cowboys, led by owner Jerry Jones, center, take a knee prior to the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals in Glendale, Ariz. What began more than a year ago with a lone NFL quarterback protesting police brutality against minorities by kneeling silently during the national anthem before games has grown into a roar with hundreds of players sitting, kneeling, locking arms or remaining in locker rooms, their reasons for demonstrating as varied as their methods. - Sputnik International
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The NFL Players Association has filed a complaint against the league's new national anthem policy. The move comes following protests last year, when players knelt down during the anthem. Sputnik spoke with Breana McCoy, Researcher at the University Of Swansea and Stephen Wagg Professor Of Sports Studies at Leeds Beckett University for some insight.

Sputnik: Do you believe that at sporting events the national anthem should be sung or is this example of how sport is becoming too politicised?

In this Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, file photo, the Dallas Cowboys, led by owner Jerry Jones, center, take a knee prior to the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals in Glendale, Ariz. What began more than a year ago with a lone NFL quarterback protesting police brutality against minorities by kneeling silently during the national anthem before games has grown into a roar with hundreds of players sitting, kneeling, locking arms or remaining in locker rooms, their reasons for demonstrating as varied as their methods. - Sputnik International
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Stephen Wagg: Who could have foreseen an incident like these 10 or so years ago? I think it tells you a lot of things about America and the state of American society, rather than specifically about American sport. If you look at recent history after the bombing of the World Trade Centre, there was a real increase in nationalist sentiment surrounding sports in the states. Now you have the President of the United States more or less at war with one of the countries’ leading sports and its practitioners. That to me is quite mind-blowing really.

The people who run the NFL are very concerned about image and sponsorship, which are key considerations in contemporary elite sports, but what you’re hearing through the NFL players is the voice of Black America.

Life for black Americans has been getting steadily worse since the Reagan administration; we’ve seen a large-scale obliteration of civil rights. Their anguish won

The Dallas Cowboys, led by owner Jerry Jones, center, take a knee prior to the national anthem prior to an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. - Sputnik International
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Breana McCoy: Telling people what they can and can’t do during the national anthem is a complicated issue. The protests are also arguably a form of patriotism, but not in the way the current administration wants it to be seen.

President Trump’s opinions and emotions should not be placed above those of the players, just because he is the President. I understand the sense of pride that Trump and many Americans feel about being American, but the reality is that there are injustices going on. There are many different narratives going on regarding the issue.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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