In a report issued by the Associated Press and published on NFL.com, Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule is considering taking a stance alongside his players by kneeling during the national anthem this season.
“I will support my players with whatever they do and then when the time comes I will really think deeply about what is the best thing for me and what is the best way I can show my support,” Rhule said.
“I think a lot of this has come from the players so I will wait to see what direction they are leaning, and then I will make my decision,” Rhule said.
With the National Football League embracing a new stance that they were wrong to have ever not fully supported the players in their right to protest, as expressed by Roger Goodell in a video, it appears the landscape has shifted enough that a coach will be able to do such a thing without shaking up the league. The Houston Texans head coach, Bill O’Brien, has also come forward and said he will kneel with his players.
As a whole, many people will say the NFL should have been at the forefront of these social justice issues, and should have been more proactive in encouraging their players to help lead the way. To an extent, they did, by contributing money on a per-team basis to be allocated to charities important to the players that seek to further reforms.
Yet still, the push back for kneeling during the anthem remained. As all people right now are spending time thinking about, listening, and altering their stances and viewpoints on how they view racial injustices across America (and the world), the NFL is no different. I hope this traction can continue to carry momentum, and actual change can manifest as more voices add to the conversation.