By: Chamar Logan
On Thursday, September 6, 2018 the ACLU released a statement about the start of the NFL season. Kaepernick began protesting racial injustice back in August of 2016 by sitting and later kneeling during the national anthem. Soon, other players across the NFL began to follow suit. Nike has made Kaepernick the face of their 30th Anniversary ‘Just Do It’ campaign and despite protests against the company, Nike who makes the uniforms of all 32 NFL teams has not backed down from the decision. Ford Motors, another sponsor of the NFL soon followed suit and has shown their support for NFL players exercising their right to free speech and peaceful protest.
On Thursday September 6, 2018 the ACLU released the following statement:
NEW YORK — The NFL season begins tonight with no clarity on the policy surrounding player protests against racial injustice during the national anthem. Jeff Robinson, ACLU deputy legal director, issued the following statement:
“As NFL players prepare to take the field for the regular season, we’re reminded of the power of sports to reach the country. People from all different colors, creeds, religions, and backgrounds come together around the game, in pursuit of a common goal.
“It’s said that people follow football as an escape, a way to avoid the chaos and hardships of the real world. There is some truth there. The real world can be ugly, and some of the ugliest parts are systemic racism and inequity. Some Americans have to live with that before, during and after football games. Players are well within their rights to make this known.
“There are intense disagreements surrounding the protests against racial injustice, which is part of the beauty of America – that you’re entitled to speak out. Protest isn’t supposed to make anyone comfortable.
“Every player should have the right to stand, hand over heart, or kneel in reverence, pleading for America to live up to its ideals. The national anthem rightfully means different things for different people.
“We hope that the NFL and NFLPA find a resolution in support of the players who peacefully bring attention to racial injustice. And to the players kneeling this season, we kneel with you.”