Taking it to the streets

The people have their say on Trump’s criticism of NFL player protests

As he strolled through the downtown streets of the nation’s capital — a city that loves its football team — Milton Garland was not afraid to rep the silver and black.

It was evident that Garland, wearing his black Oakland Raiders hat and T-shirt, loves football and is passionate about his team. It was also evident that Garland, when asked about President Donald Trump’s criticism of NFL players who take a knee for the national anthem, was inspired by the players who have adopted that form of protest since Colin Kaepernick first took a knee last season.

“I think it’s needed,” Garland, an Oakland, California, resident in town for the Raiders game at Washington, said. “I think it brings awareness to what happens to black men in the community. I think it brings awareness to bad policing going on all around the world.”

In the days after the president’s controversial remarks at a rally in Alabama on Friday, the reactions were impassioned. In London on Sunday morning, more than two dozen players from the Baltimore Ravens and the Jacksonville Jaguars took a knee during the anthem. And the Pittsburgh Steelers opted not to come out on the field during the anthem.

People who agreed to talk in downtown Washington, D.C., over the weekend mostly defended the players. But the president had some support.

“That’s your job; if I didn’t agree with everything my boss said, I wouldn’t have a job,” Kerry Faulkner, from Corbin, Kentucky, said. “They’re under contract to perform and not to protest. They can protest after the game.”

His wife, Dorenda Faulkner, agreed. “They’re setting an example for all the youth. And when they do that, the youth thinks it’s OK to do that, too. And they’re showing disrespect to our country.”