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NFL debate draws both sides under trending #TakeAKnee hashtag

September 24, 2017 - 12:07 pm

(NEW YORK) -- President Trump's lashing out at NFL players who kneel in protest during the national anthem and the resulting backlash is playing out in part on social media, including under a Twitter hashtag trending Sunday morning, #TakeAKnee, and also another variation, #TakeTheKnee.

The hashtag drew sharp responses from people both opposed and supportive of players protesting by kneeling during the pregame national anthem, a practice that drew attention beginning in the 2016 preseason when Colin Kaepernick, then a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, quietly knelt. Kaepernick told the press that he was protesting the treatment of blacks in the United States.

One supporter of the protests said critics should "wake up" because the players are exercising their rights.

Katie Hopkins, a controversial British columnist and a former reality star, focused her criticism on Kaepernick.

California Rep. Ted Lieu, a Democrat who has been critical of Trump, said the president has "no moral standing" to call for NFL players to be fired for kneeling in protest.

Jack Posobiec, a right-wing activist who has promoted conspiracy theories such as "Pizzagate," argued that 80 percent of Americans tuning into NFL football on Sunday would turn off the TV if players kneel during the anthem.

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