Fans and parents weigh in on standing during the anthem
PORTLAND, Ore. – The song before kickoff was arguably the biggest news across National Football League stadiums Sunday as fans and media paid attention to who stood and who didn’t during the national anthem.
NFL players and teams protested by kneeling, sitting, linking arms, raising their fists, or not even coming out of the locker rooms Sunday during the anthem. The protests were in response to President Donald Trump’s comments about players who chose not to stand.
At an Alabama rally on Friday, the president said, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a b***h off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!”
The Seattle Seahawks were one of three teams who did not come out of the locker room for the national anthem on Sunday. The team released a statement saying, “As a team, we have decided we will not participate in the national anthem. We will not stand for the injustice that has plagued people of color in this country. Out of love for our country and in honor of the sacrifices made on our behalf, we unite to oppose those that would deny our most basic freedoms. We remain committed in continuing to work towards equality and justice for all.”
“They want their opinion to be known, and now that players around the league are kneeling, they are stepping up their game to let their opinions to be known. Not coming out of the locker room is their way of showing as a team of how they feel,” said Nick Yonts, a sports fan, about the Seahawks staying inside.
Meanwhile, young athletes played football Sunday afternoon too. MVP Youth Sports League holds flag football games Sundays during football season for kids between kindergarten and 8th grade. While watching their kids play, parents expressed their opinions about NFL protests.
“I stand for [the anthem]. My father is a veteran of Vietnam. I respect everything that he's done, and everything else everyone has done in the armed services,” said Brian Frownfelter, a father and coach. “On the same note, I get where people who kneel, who sit, or don't even participate at all, I get where they are coming from too.”
“They have some sort of social concern and the camera is on them, so they're bringing attention to social issues that are important to them. I think that's fair, and it's a good way to do it. They’re not rude or disrespectful,” said Jessica Christiansen, a mother.
“I'm for standing for the flag. I just believe in it. You can protest in other ways, and I'm all for that. I think the players have the right to do what they want to do, but I just feel like it's the wrong time, and the wrong thing to do,” said Mark Hastings, a father.
KATU asked parents if they think NFL players choosing to protest would influence their kids. Some parents say their kids are too young to fully realize what the players were doing. Others say players are role models and their actions may change how a child feels.
“Kids look up to them. I think they could set a good example. Understanding protest is protest, people should at times protest, but at this time I think it is setting the wrong example. Our flag is important. As Americans I think we should stand and kids should see that an look up to those role models and emulate them,” said Hastings.
“I try to teach my kids that that is good and fair and if you're going to have an opinion, that's a good way to express it,” said Christiansen.
Since San Francisco 49er Quarterback Colin Kapernick first took a knee during the national anthem at a game last year, some youth athletes have done the same, including some players on the Lincoln High School football team.
The protest moved beyond football Sunday too. Some fans at the Portland Timbers game chose to sit or kneel during the anthem too. However, there were not noticeably large groups of fans who chose to do so.