Stop Making The NFL Into A Political Statement

Stop Making The NFL Into A Political Statement

Keep your protests off the field.

Since the return of the NFL season, I've been hearing multiple complaints regarding the National Football League's treatment of Colin Kaepernick. Many say that the NFL should be boycotted because of its "unfair" treatment towards the ex-San Francisco 49ers player. And from the most recent comments from our President, "kneeling is not acceptable"; those who do should be fired or suspended. I think there are many points to be made from these opposing sides.

First and foremost, Colin Kaepernick and all his supporters has every right written in the Constitution defending their free choice to kneel during the National Anthem. Many who disagree with this notion simply are ignorant because his actions disagree with their political stance, or may disagree because they have a profound patriotism that cannot comprehend someone showing any sign of disrespect to their country, especially during the National Anthem. I not only respect all these opinions and perspectives but understand the rationale to which many view this controversy. It is quite a difficult one to understand, especially if you yourself know or have known someone who gave their life for this country.

Second, it is often neglected that while Colin Kaepernick has individual rights, so does the National Football League have individual rights, as a private organization, as to who is and is not included in their business. Surely, no one deserves a job, let alone a multi-million dollar contract playing professional football. My point being, NFL teams are freely able to hire/remove players they seem fit to their team. Then the question becomes, "Is that really fair?" Should the NFL fire those who disagree with them politically?" From the recent tweets of the President, the NFL should fire anyone who "disrespects our country", but should the President mandate what rights and regulations a private association has when dealing with its employees? Cause while the NFL and its teams have every right to fire a player for causing a "political riff-raff" that contradicts the neutral position of the team, the President mandating what behavior should be tolerated seems to take away those basic liberties.

Third, even though I disagree with nearly everything Kaepernick advocates, I respect his decision to put his knee down, both literally and figuratively, as to what he believes in. I admire the loads of criticism and prejudice Kaepernick has encountered and the true "badass" nature of this motion. On the other hand, I do not even begin to admire the athletes who "stand with" Kaepernick, or the athletes who do not have the guts to do what Kaepernick did. These athletes, including but not limited to Lebron James, Marshawn Lynch, etc., simply say they agree because they want to affiliate themselves with Kaepernick's political agenda, yet they fear the consequences such as losing their contracts with their teams. However, Kaepernick's actions proved to be a "martyr for the cause" as each week, more and more athletes refrain to take the field during the National Anthem.

And finally , stop unnecessarily politicizing everything. Is the football stadium the perfect place to advance your political agenda? Know your audience. If your audience is testosterone-induced men who pay cable-vision hundreds of dollars to watch grown men fight over a rubber ball, we don't care what your political opinions are. This is the main reason why ESPN's ratings and views have declined so rapidly the past couple of years: we want to watch sports and highlights, NOT what the players or commentators think outside of the sports world, especially as unfavorable a topic as American politics. Not everything has to be a political statement. Keep your protests off the field, and play the game you learned and loved without a political bias.

Cover Image Credit: Juliana Cosenza

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When You Give A Girl A Pair Of Cleats

It's more than a pair of shoes.

When you give a girl a pair of cleats, you are giving her far more than a new pair of shoes. You are giving her new friends and new challenges and so many lessons and some of her best memories.

When you give a girl a pair of cleats, you are giving her a team. You are giving her a group of girls that she might not have ever talked to if it wasn’t for these common cleats. A group of girls who will teach her how to be a teammate. A group of girls who will laugh with her and yell at her and train with her and win with her and lose with her. With a pair of cleats comes a group of mismatched people with a common goal who are learning from each other and working together.

SEE ALSO: To The Coach That Took My Confidence Away

When you give a girl a pair of cleats, you are giving her a coach. This coach is going to play an instrumental role in her love or hate for the sport. This coach will work her hard. This coach will train her and teach her and encourage her and yell at her and make her cry and hug her and cheer her on. This coach wants to see her succeed. This coach knows what these cleats mean, what this sport means. And this coach will be someone that she will watch. She will watch the way that her coach talks to her and talks to her teammates and talks to the other team and she will see her coach’s responses to games that are won and games that are lost. This pair of cleats comes with a role model, for better or for worse.

When you give a girl a pair of cleats, you are giving her team practices. You are giving her practice that will instill discipline and dedication and commitment. You are teaching her that she is on a team and she is expected to put in time. You are teaching her that her presence is important and that people are relying on her. You are teaching her how to balance her time, because, now, she has school and practice and games and teammates and friends and family. And for the first time in her life, she has to establish priorities. With this practice time comes some of the hardest conditioning and training. With this practice time comes some of her favorite memories as she bonds with her teammates and laughs with them and works hard with them. This pair of cleats comes with quite the time commitment.

When you give a girl a pair of cleats, you are giving her game days. You are giving her bus rides and warm up playlists and team matching hair ribbons and orange slices at half-time and constantly looking for your water bottle on the sidelines. You are giving her a competitiveness that can only come out on the field. You are giving her the cheers from the sidelines and the screams of her coach and the exhaustion in her legs at the end of the game. You are giving her handshakes with opponents and a winning attitude even when she loses. With a pair of cleats comes pasta dinners and game days; These will become her favorite days.

SEE ALSO: My First Semester As A College Athlete

When you give a girl a pair of cleats, you are giving her a challenge. She is going to grow and learn, and she’s going to want to quit at times, but she is going to look down at her feet and remember why she’s doing this. She’s going to remember her teammates and her coaches and the amount of time she’s poured into this sport, and she’s going to realize that it’s worth it. She’s going to be covered in bruises and her socks are going to stink, and she’s always going to be looking for a sock or needing a hair elastic. She’s going to be tired, and she’s going to get hurt. But those cleats are going to establish lessons that she’s going to remember for the rest of her life, friends that she is going to learn to love, and discipline that she is going to be thankful for. If you’re the girl with the cleats, soak it in. Love the long practices and the exhaustion and the sound of the whistle that starts the game. If you’re the girl without the cleats, go get some. Try something new. Take the risk. Sign up for the team, the musical, the club. You will regret it if you don’t. Even if you fail, few things can teach you the lessons that those cleats will.


The Girl Who Hung Up Her Cleats

Cover Image Credit: Hannah Cook

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The New Apple Update Is A Hoorah For The Fourth Amendment

Who's really protecting us, law enforcement or Apple?


When you're arrested, police may instruct you to do one thing: empty your pockets.

This is a part of the law enforcement's legal routine. For obvious reasons, they want to make sure there is nothing dangerous or illegal in your possession. When you think of it this way, knives or marijuana probably come to your mind. But nowadays, the most common thing found in someone's pocket is none other than a smartphone. Honestly, it's hard to find a single person who doesn't carry a phone in their pocket.

Because of this, there's been one question lingering through the justice system… Does the Fourth Amendment protect the privacy of cellphones during arrests? Or is police review of smartphones found in suspects' pockets considered legal routine search? In recent years, police believe the latter.

In case you haven't taken a Poli-Sci class in a while, the Fourth Amendment protects citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures. This right should not be violated unless a warrant is at hand. Therefore, does the Fourth Amendment protect the contents of cellphones from warrantless searches? If you're arrested and under custody, is the search really "unreasonable"?

In 2014, the United States Supreme Court took on the landmark case, Riley v. California. During this case, David Riley argued that his Fourth Amendment right had been violated. Why? Because he was pulled over by the cops and arrested for possession of an illegal firearm. During the cops' legal routine, they confiscated Riley's cellphone. While at the police station, a special detective examined the content of Riley's phone and discovered he was associated with the "Bloods." Riley was immediately criminally charged and convicted.

If this were an episode of CSI or Criminal Minds, you'd probably root for the law enforcement's great victory over violence. However, in real life, the Court ruled in favor of Riley and unanimously held that "warrantless search and seizures of digital contents of a cell phone during an arrest is unconstitutional."

At first, you might think, "But he was guilty." Then after really thinking about it, you would probably realize how wrong it was for the cops to violate your right to privacy. And despite the Court's decision, there continue to be law enforcers who illegally search cellphones. But have no fear, Apple has come to save the day.

Apple's new feature – soon to be available on iOS 12 – disables third-party hacking. Yes, that includes law enforcement. A while back, government mobile forensic firms found a loophole to transferring iPhone data without a passcode. If law enforcement wants to access your iPhone, they have very few options. The data on the phone will not be able to be pulled off without consent from Apple or the owner.

Surprise, surprise… you can bet the FBI isn't too happy about it. Apple has reassured the government that no drama is intended. A big motivator for this update was to protect innocent, vulnerable users in countries where phones are often seized.

Only time will tell when the FBI creates new technology that will overcome their obstacle, but until then… We can give a huge hoorah to Apple for actually caring about inalienable rights, privacy, and their users.

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