Kneeling protests on the White House lawn during the national anthem bucks POTUS’ angst in ’take a knee’ stance

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You can take the protesters out of the demonstration, but you cannot take the demonstration out of the protesters. Attendees at White House event snubbed Trump and took a knee.

Two unidentified men did the very thing that caused the POTUS to disinvite the 2018 NFL champions, the Philadelphia Eagles, from participating in the White House’s annual event commemorating major winners—they protested by way of kneeling.

While the national anthem played during a patriotic-themed event on the lawn of the White House, reporters captured two man kneeling. One of the protesters yelled at Trump following the anthem. Other attendees booed the demonstrator, according to USA Today.

For the event, Trump said that he wanted to “celebrate America” because Eagles players’ support of NFL protests were  “disrespectful.” In a Twitter message rebuffing the Eagles, Trump said that the Eagles informed the White House that a smaller delegation of players would attend; however, “1,000 fans planning to attend the event deserved better.”

One Tweeted response from Torrey Smith, a wide receiver for the Carolina Panthers, explained that Trump mandated that all players stand during the national anthem. This caused some who had not opted out already, to excuse themselves from the event.

‘Take a Knee’ Protests in the NFL

Since 2017, the POTUS has been vocal in criticizing NFL players who protest the nation’s social conditions by kneeling, sitting or raising fists during the opening ceremony at games.

The demonstrations started with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, who refused to stand during the national anthem to bring awareness of the violent relationship between law enforcement and the Black community.

Last September, in a rally in Huntsville, Al. Trump said that NFL owners should “Get that son of a bitch off the field.” The incendiary comments were met with more protests by players that caused a clash between player and league owners.

Trump also criticized NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell, for supporting the players.

More players began to show their solidarity with Kaepernick and social justice movements, like Black Lives Matter. Their efforts highlighted the ongoing struggle to stop Black citizens, many of whom are innocent of violating any laws, from getting killed by police.

Last week, the league owners released a new policy stating that the organizations will enact punitive actions against players who kneel, sit or express any actions displaying protest during the national anthem.

Sports Illustrated reported that POTUS influenced their policy. Shortly after the policy was announced, Trump said on Fox News:

I don’t think people should be staying in locker rooms but still I think it’s good, you have to stand proudly for the national anthem. Or you shouldn’t be playing, you shouldn’t be there. Maybe you shouldn’t be in the country. You have to stand proudly for the national anthem and the NFL owners did the right thing if that’s what they’ve done.

With the kickoff of NFL preseason about two months away, the repercussions on more stringent policy will be examined.

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