The whole point of NFL players taking a knee during the Star Spangled Banner is to protest against racial injustices and police brutality. That message of course has been twisted and perverted by far right extremists, and now spun into the narrative of “spoiled, pampered athletes disrespecting the country that gave them their opportunities.”
What an individual chooses to do during the national anthem is up to them, and the true meaning of that gesture resides in their own heart and mind, despite whatever some attention seeking pundit might say to contort it.
Northwestern football coach Pat Fitzgerald said today during his weekly press conference that he fully supports his players exercising their rights to freedom of speech during the national anthem, should they choose to do so. This week Northwestern hosts #4 Penn State for the annual Homecoming game at Ryan Field.
What the Northwestern football team does on Saturday in regards to the national anthem is up to the players. Typically, they do take the field for it. Pat Fitzgerald has left that choice up to the team itself, and we’ll find out what they decide to do with that decision Saturday morning.
“When you look at the peaceful protests that guys have made is not at the national anthem, it is not at the military, it is not at our military, it not at at the freedom that we have all been provided. I say that and you have 40% of the country that takes it out of context. That’s the 40% that you can’t control and I’ve expressed that to our guys,” he said on Monday.
“It’s one thing to say I wanna take a stand for something. It’s another to back it up with action,” Pat Fitzgerald later added.
“I know that our guys, no matter what choice they make, they support our country. We’re citizens before we’re students…coaches.”
The national anthem protest discussion begins around 7:40 mark and runs to around the 12:00 mark in the video below:
The topic comes up again at the 13:40 mark until the 15:30 mark.
Pat Fitzgerald said last week of what had transpired the previous Sunday in NFL stadiums:
“I commend these guys for making a peaceful protest to injustice. When you really research and read about what is trying to be accomplished, I think it’s getting lost by a lot of people. Our guys said they had an open dialogue and want to support each other.
“They’re sad; they’re disappointed. Anyone involved in football or sports, if you don’t get what these gentlemen are trying to accomplish, then you’re really not listening to the message.”
He also told the Chicago Tribune last week: “Football has every race, every religion, guys from all over the country … different shapes, different sizes, not only at this level but I watch my (sons) play and it’s the same thing. It’s a unifying force that, to me, has an opportunity to take the lead.
“I’m just really disappointed with the leadership that is being demonstrated. We need people in leadership roles to bring us together as a society, not to tear us apart.”
Also last Monday Illinois football coach Lovie Smith expressed his solidarity with the NFL player demonstrations during the national anthem and was quite critical of the President trolling the NFL.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now and Minute Media. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and Chicago Now.
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