Going for the Gold: Olympians respond to NFL anthem protests


UTAH – It was a little more than a year ago when Colin Kaepernick sat during the national anthem.

It happened during an NFL preseason game when Kaepernick was a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. And he says he did that as a way to protest against police brutality and racial inequality.

What Kaepernick started recently morphed into something else.

During week three of the NFL season, every game had some type of protest during the national anthem. That was the players’, and in many cases, owners’ responses to comments made a couple of days earlier by President Donald Trump. He suggested NFL players who kneel during the national anthem be fired.

“No matter what’s going on in the world right now, politically, in the U.S., I take a lot of pride in my country,” said Mikaela Shiffrin, 2014 Olympic gold medalist in alpine skiing.

“One of the best things about our country is freedom of speech. The fact that we’re from all different walks of life… sports is one of the things that unites us all,” said Jason Brown, 2014 Olympic bronze medalist in team figure skating.

And that’s especially true when it comes to the Olympics.

Believe it or not, rules against protests at the Olympics are written in the Olympic Charter

“I honestly believe that, as Olympians, we are in a slightly different category than professional sports. We get to compete for the United States of America every four years,” said Julia Mancuso, four-time Olympic medalist.

It’s also worth pointing out that the only time America’s national anthem is played at the Olympics is when an American wins a gold medal.

“How we represent our team and our country, I don’t expect that to be an issue. And I look forward to when we do win the gold medal, having to deal with a situation like that if it does happen,” said Tony Granato, head coach of the U.S. Olympic men’s hockey team.

Something did happen back in 1968 in Mexico City. Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists in a black power salute. And last year in Rio, viewers saw a marathon runner from Ethiopia cross his arms and raise them above his head.

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