Newsy's Audience Has A Lot To Say About Athlete Protests

September 13, 2016

We've noticed our audience has pretty strong reactions to stories about NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and other athletes protesting the national anthem. For people on all sides, this isn't just an issue of politics. It reflects deeply personal ideas about morality, patriotism and identity.

We wanted to amplify those voices, so we asked for and collected some responses on Facebook. Here's just some of what Newsy's audience has to say about athlete protests.

*Responses have been edited for clarity and length.*

Vanessa Young Wright

If this had been a Caucasian player, this would not be made such a big deal. It's his (and anyone else's) constitutional right as an American citizen to protest or voice their right to express themselves '"by any means necessary." Folks need to just let this go and move on to greener pastures.

John Lambert

My opinion is Blaine Gabbert is starting against the Rams, and this is more about Kaepernick trying to get that starting spot back. He had made no previous donations before the so-called protest.

Quanah Curreen

I'm not an American, so it is an interesting thing to watch this unfold via social media. ... To me, as a mixed-race New Zealander, the idea of blind allegiance to a flag or national creed is a novel concept, and I find it quite telling that a lot of the so called patriotism in America has more to do with symbols and ideology than a cohesive vision of what the USA as a nation represents. ... Considering how many high-profile cases of NFL players doing rather reprehensible things to women, etcetera, yet given a pass by the collective media after token finger-wagging, one has to ask what it says about America's cultural psyche that a man not standing for the pledge is somehow more offensive?

Jon Preuett

This is a very disrespectful act by these privileged individuals who worked hard, yes, but are grossly overpaid to play a game while the men and women who defend the rights and freedoms that are represented by the flag get paid very little for the jobs they do.

Brittanie Gypsy Helberg

I think it's about time that the athletes, superstars and upper class finally take a stand. A lot of these people are considered role models; they are influential. What better way to use that power than to bring our issues to light? Once people begin accepting that the U.S. has major problems (poverty, poor health, segregation, etc.), we can start the journey to fixing them. Instead of being upset because some football player refused to stand for our national anthem, be upset that you're sitting by while our nation crumbles.

Steve Nolan

Well it's anyone's right to protest. With that being said, it's my right to boycott these teams. Also, it's my right to protest the companies that sponsor and advertise during the game.

Drew Downs

We should thank him, not because we necessarily agree with him, but because, whatever his intent, for this brief moment, he has restored a mindfulness of our nation's greater truth. ... Our love for our country must be something greater than an obsession with its symbols.

Tyrel Gipe

I agree with his cause, but he went about it in a stupid way. Now people are focused on him not being patriotic instead of the real issue: police brutally, racial equality. Love this country because we CAN have a voice and CAN change things. Sitting out the anthem is not a good way to bring about meaningful change.

Thank you to everyone who contributed. We appreciate your voices in this conversation.