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Do professional athletes have a right to 'take a knee'?

by Take Two staff | Take Two®

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The Los Angeles Chargers are seen during national anthem at the game against the Kansas City Cheifs at the StubHub Center on September 24, 2017 in Carson, California. Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Athletes from all over the country "took a knee," either literally or symbollically, when the national anthem played during their events over the weekend. That included the Los Angeles Sparks and the Chargers.

It was a response to remarks by President Trump on Friday, challenging owners to remove players who didn’t stand for the anthem.  

"Some owners are going to do that," said the president during a rally in Huntsville, Alabama. "He’s gonna say, that guy who disrespects our flag, he’s fired."

The kneeling movement started last fall when Colin Kaepernick, then playing for the San Francisco 49ers, knelt during the national anthem to draw attention to police brutality targeting the African American community.

But the president's comments on Friday gave new life to the movement. Stephen Curry from the Golden State Warriors was among the first to publicly respond. He declined an invite to the White House.

"I commend and applaud everybody that’s spoken up," said Curry on Friday. "That’s what we’re supposed to do. We’re supposed continue this conversation, and hopefully to promote change. And everybody’s doing it in their own way. And it’s really important."

The conversation soon turned to players' right to protest. 

Many athletes saw the president's remarks as a challenge and planned some form of action over the weekend. That included the Los Angeles Chargers, many of whom linked arms when the anthem played Sunday during their game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

The protests spread beyond the National Football League. The WNBA's L.A. Sparks left the court during the National Anthem yesterday before a play off game against the Minnesota Lynx, and Oakland A's catcher Bruce Maxwell took a knee before both games this weekend.

Before a game against the Giants this Sunday, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts acknowledged that he'd take issue with a player not standing for the anthem. But he also admitted that it was personal decision for each player.

"I would just ask every person to be educated," said Roberts. "And when you make a point ... really think long and hard and be educated on why you're doing what you're doing. And after that, it's each individual player's decision."

So what do you think? Should sporting events be the place for political protest? Do athletes have a right to express themselves in this way? Tweet us @TakeTwo or let us know here, in the comments section. 

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