Professional athletes choose unity in the face of divisions


KNEELING WITH PURPOSE — Athletes for the Baltimore Ravens kneel during the national anthem before kickoff against Jacksonville. (ABC News)

After a rally speech in Alabama on Saturday in which President Donald Trump suggested that NFL owners fire those “sons of b*tches” kneeling during the national anthem, the public awoke Sunday morning anxious to see how the league would respond to such a divisive demand. In a professional sports league where the ownership demographic drastically contrasts that of the players, many believed it was a toss-up as to how the players and owners would respond. Luckily for those holding their breath, the answer came early.

While the Jacksonville Jaguars prepared to dominate the Baltimore Ravens in the Sunday morning game in London, players along with owners came to a collective understanding on how they would face this ultimatum. As the team lined up for the anthem some players stood, others kneeled, but most importantly, each individual was locked arm-in-arm as a sign of unity. What was most astounding about this display was Jaguars’ owner Shahid Khan standing proudly with his team. This obvious display of support was echoed across the league as teams refused to leave the locker room during the national anthem and many owners took note of Khan, standing with their players as well. In this time of division and hatred, these two very different parties stood together as if to say, “we may not agree on everything, but you will not pit us against one another.” Signs of support like this have come from all directions. From Oakland A’s catcher Bruce Maxwell to NBA stars like LeBron James and Stephen Curry, athletes have stepped out of their role as entertainers and into their roles as modern- day heroes to prove that sports are vastly bigger than the competition. As the NFL season continues, the MLB gears up for playoffs and the NBA prepares to begin its season, we as a nation look forward to a refreshing face on our screens: unity.

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