The NFL, Colin Kaepernick, and the National Anthem: A National Debate

Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick sparked a national debate when he chose to kneel during the national anthem to protest police brutality. His silent protest swiftly grew into a larger movement, with many supporters kneeling to raise attention to the situation.

The act of kneeling during the anthem, on the other hand, elicited split reactions. While many supported Kaepernick’s cause, others, who are genuinely patriotic and proud of the United States military, saw this gesture as a disrespect to the country they love.

The debate extended beyond the NFL. Monroe High School’s football team in New Jersey backed Kaepernick’s cause. Many of its players elected to kneel during the national anthem before a game. Their act of unity, however, was not universally embraced.

The game’s referees are Ernie Lunardelli, 54, and Anthony Lunardelli, 27. Their reaction to the student protest was unequivocal and quick. In response to the kids’ protest, both felt forced to voice their own dissatisfaction by leaving the field.

Ernie Lunardelli was very outspoken in his opposition. While recognizing everyone’s freedom to express themselves, he couldn’t reconcile the choice of the pregame ceremony as the venue for such a protest. This time, he believes, should be dedicated solely to the spirit of the game. Ernie, accompanied by his son, left the field when the players knelt, honoring his earlier commitment to the league’s commissions.

Following their departure, two cadets from the chain crew took over as referees. This switch, however, did not sit well with Ernie Lunardelli. He said that the game’s credibility had been called into question as a result of the unexpected change in personnel. He has even sought legal assistance to protest the game’s decision.

The repercussions of Kaepernick’s protest are clear. It has both ardent admirers and detractors. The actions at Monroe High School demonstrate the wide range of viewpoints on this critical national topic.

As the country grapples with this complexity, one thing is clear: sports, which are generally viewed as unifying forces, can also serve as a powerful forum for confronting polarizing societal problems.