RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The NFL will now fine players who take a knee during our nation's anthem. The new rule is drawing criticism from coaches and players over the fairness of the ruling.
One youth football coach is especially concerned on the implications this ruling could have on the next generation of athletes. He is also a member of Coaches Against Violence Everywhere (CAVE) and says he just wants to get his players to the next level of football.
"That's the average athlete dream. From age 10 on up, you know, you ask them what they want to be: 'football player,'" said Haywood Fox.
With another football season on the horizon, Haywood Fox is worried if his players will focus on the game, or if their attention will be on something else entirely.
"It's real [sic] confusing for the kids," said Haywood Fox. "They're seeing this stuff go on, they're seeing men protest, taking a knee."
Haywood Fox is referring to the controversial protests made famous by 49'er Colin Kaepernick and the Wednesday NFL ruling that will fine teams with players who engage in the protests.
Haywood Fox says he understands the reasons for the ruling.
"The NFL is their employer, and it's like anything...nobody wants their business tainted. Do I stand for the anthem? Yes...but it's my choice," said Haywood Fox.
He's worried about what this may mean for young players who must make a choice between following their beliefs or doing what they're told.
"Do we want them to be able to stand and represent their country, or do we want them to really have their freedom?" said Haywood Fox.
Haywood's son Lamond Fox, who plans on playing college football, has seen the protests affect his high school games.
"My school, we stayed in the locker room. We didn't do the national anthem. We felt like what was going on in America wasn't right at the time," said Lamond Fox.
Lamond Fox says there are misunderstandings on both sides of the argument about what the protests really means, but he adds if you truly believe in something, the threat of being fined shouldn't stop you from doing what you feel is right.
"If you don't have a meaning behind something or believe in something, don't follow in somebody else's footsteps and don't stand because they don't...if you truly believe in something, then yes you should do that," said Lamond Fox.
"It's a sticky situation," said Haywood Fox.
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