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Donald Trump wants any protesting NFL stars banned for the entire season

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The US president, Donald Trump, has once again taken to twitter to spread his controversial opinions. This time he has returned to criticising NFL athletes who kneel during the national anthem in protest of police brutality.

President Donald Trump has been a strong opponent to the protests since the kneeling began, but he has now taken his critique one step further by offering his own form of punishment.

He tweeted ‘"First time kneeling, out for game. Second time kneeling, out for season/no pay!".

The NFL’s current policy towards the protests is that any athlete who kneels during the national anthem will see their team receive a fine. They have also asked players who wish to protest to remain in the dressing room whilst the anthem is played to avoid any upset.

When the Policy was first introduced in May 2018, President Trump initially said that the NFL’ were doing the right thing.’

Despite agreeing with the proposed policy, the President seems to have made a U-Turn by suggesting that the current NFL policy does not go far enough in punishing protesters.

The United States national anthem, ‘Star spangled banner’, is played at the beginning of all competitive sports matches in the US, with all athletes expected to stand to attention, have their hand on their heart and sing.

The long-standing tradition has been consistently undermined since Colin Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback, started the protest in 2016 in opposition to police brutality and the treatment of African Americans.

The debate has been recently reignited with the Miami Dolphins introduction of a new policy that outlines that any on-field protests will result in a four-month ban. The NFL have claimed they have put their current policy on hold and are looking for a ‘mutual resolution’ with the NFL Players' Association (NFLPA) that will appease all parties.

The issue has been yet another polarising topic within the country. On one side of the debate, Americans agree with the treatment of African Americans and can also claim the athletes right to freedom of speech, a right enshrined in their constitution.

On the other side, many have claimed that the protests are a slap in the face for all of the American men and women who died fighting for their nation. Many go on to claim that sports should be free from politics and if athletes seek to make a change, they should use their own platforms to do so.

In a survey published on October 2nd 2017, USA Today found that 42% of Americans thought NFL protests were inappropriate, whereas 51% thought they were justified.

The unofficial leader of the protest, Colin Kaepernick has frequently defended the actions of the athletes and in the first post-match interview after the protest, he said, ‘I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people, and people of colour.’

The organisation ‘Mapping Police Violence’ have claimed that 1,147 people were killed by police in 2017, and African Americans are 3 times more likely to be killed by the police than white people.

There have been numerous instances of police brutality in America that have caused outrage in American society. Recent injustices include the tragic deaths of Sandra Bland, Philando Castile and Eric Garner, all instances that have inspired the athletes protests.

Image rights - Flickr - https://www.flickr.com/photos/keithallison/37721041581/

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