By Ed Crane
SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Week three of the 2017 NFL season brought some wild finishes, and entertaining games, but much of the talk among fans, was what happened before the games, as a growing number of NFL players, for varying reasons, elected to do something other than standing respectfully for the national anthem.
Some teams, like the New York Giants, held hands through The Star-Spangled Banner; most of the Pittsburgh Steeler squad stayed in the locker room and the Oakland Raiders offensive line sat for song, and most teams had at least one player stand or kneel in protest of past racial policies, or simply in solidarity with other players. Some acted in response to president trump, who told an Alabama political audience that Americans should boycott any team, that employed players who refuse to stand for the anthem.
Locally sports fans seemed divided on the issue.
“Some of them didn’t even come out for the national anthem. They stayed in the locker room. That’s all wrong,” said Gaye Simmons, who’s unhappy with the 49ers, whose ex-quarterback Colin Kaepernick started the trend last year, or the Raiders, who staged the offensive line anthem action on national TV.
Others were politely tolerant.
At Bob’s Bar in Elk Grove, sentiment ran the gamut from politely tolerant to angry and ashamed.
“I don’t think it’s the president’s job to step into the NFL and make policy. I am a vet; I believe that everybody should stand for the anthem,” said Rob Powell.
With the 49ers issuing a statement of solidarity with players who sit for the anthem, the entire Raiders offensive line refused to stand, and even a baseball player, Oakland’s Bruce Maxwell, sat for The Star-Spangled Banner.
Mike Salinas says he’s done with local teams”
“I won’t support it. I think it’s all a fad and it’s gone overboard and it’s just ridiculous,” he said.
A few folks shared former veteran Roxeanne Willaims’ view.
“I disagree but they have the right to protest any way they want,” she said.
Just don’t ask her about the millions paid to those taking a knee listening to Francis Scott Key.
“And the soldiers don’t make anywhere near that,” she said.
At O’Malley’s in Old Sac, the mere mention of Donald Trump got people talking.
“He divides us as a country. We’re already divided; he makes it more intense,” said Marika Young.
Tony Belmonte would have none of it.
“If they’re an American, they stand up for it whether they believe what the president or anyone else says. It’s not about a person, it’s about the founding fathers and what they built,” he said.
Colin Kaepernick’s personal protest last season has clearly resonated with a growing number of players. But’s he’s out of a job three weeks into the new season, and the question persists: is he off the field because of weak play…or strong opinion?