VIDEO: NFL Protests Stir Culture War For Voters In Southeastern Texas

By weighing in on the NFL protests, President Trump transformed football fields across America into the frontlines of a culture war. Three Texans explain how the debate will inform their votes.

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When football quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem back in 2016, his intention was to protest against racial injustice in America.

The act drew fans and fury, but tensions really boiled over when President Trump weighed in, declaring that the protests were not about race but about disrespect for the military, flag and country. The rebranding and ensuing debate has transformed football fields into the frontlines of a culture war, igniting a larger debate over what it means to be an American.

Days after Trump’s harshest condemnation of protesting NFL players, the controversy spread from national headlines to a football field and a high school classroom in Texas.

Ronnie Mitchem, a pastor, a former Marine and football coach in Crosby, Texas, dismissed two players on his team for protesting during a pre-game anthem. At a high school across town, 18-year-old India Landry was called to the principal’s office for not standing during the Pledge of Allegiance.

NPR sat down with a few Texans touched by the NFL protests to understand how the debate around patriotism, free speech and race will inform their votes in the 2018 midterm election.

Politics is Personal is a three-part video project that explores how some of the biggest stories from President Trump’s first years in office have impacted voters — who will decide whether to reward or reject the president and his party in the midterm elections.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit

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