NFL Protests Dominate Sports Talk Radio

How Hosts Are Handling Politics In A Different Arena

SIOUX FALLS, S.D.– The NFL is in the national spotlight after players protested during the national anthem. It comes days after President Donald Trump criticized athletes who do so.

Trump said he would love to see an NFL owner fire players who disrespected the flag during a speech in Alabama on Friday. Players, owners and coaches from around the NFL took a stand on Sunday in a variety of ways. Some took a knee with a hand over their hearts, others stood and locked arms with teammates. A few teams chose not to be on the field at all. The protests first began in response to the treatment of African Americans by police.

Among those talking about the protests are the hosts of sports talk radio.

“Politics and sports never mix. They never mix well,” said KWSN Sports Talk Radio Host Craig Mattick.

Mattick and John Gaskins try to stay away from politics on their show. However, they couldn’t ignore what Trump said about NFL players and owners or how they responded on Sunday.

“His remarks started the conversation and move politics into sports and made it absolutely inevitable. He forced the whole issue,” said KWSN Sports Talk Radio Host John Gaskins.

The radio hosts dedicated a chunk of their show to the protests: the kneeling, arm linking, and the no shows during the National Anthem.

“They kneeled, and the country reacted, and we’re going to react, and we want to hear your reactions today at 4:05 p.m.,” said Gaskins over the radio.

They also gave their own reactions. Mattick says while he doesn’t agree with how the president conveyed his message, he still stands for the anthem.

“Well, the ones that linked arms still stood,” said Mattick. “You have a lot of people who were not happy with what the players did. There’s a lot of people who support the National Anthem and support the flag and it would seem to me that the players need to do something else to get their point across.”

Gaskins says there’s no greater platform in which the athletes, most of them minorities, can get this kind of reaction.

Gaskins said, “The unfortunate thing is that this has become more about symbolism and the flag than the realism of what Colin Kaepernek and all these players are protesting.”

While Mattick agrees that conversations involving racial injustices need to be had, he doesn’t like where they’ve landed.

Mattick said, “I think it’s sad for the most part. Sad that politics has become such a major impact with the NFL.”

The radio hosts say it will be interesting to see now how the fans of the NFL react, whether or not they will protest watching NFL games.

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