In recent years, the NFL has had a significant impact in American culture because it is one of the most watched sports in the country. In light of tragic events in the United States, NFL players have been taking a knee during the national anthem. This kneel movement started last year with quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Many players are believed to be kneeling to protest President Trump, who has gotten involved in this anthem issue. In our research, we decided to focus our attention on just the players and not involve Trump.
In between September 1 – September 15, when the NFL season was just beginning, the kneeling ordeal was already gaining traction. As shown by the latest activity below, it reached its height on September 3.
— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) September 3, 2017
James Woods’ tweet was the most retweeted tweet in our research. The hashtag in the beginning of his tweet was the most used hashtag on Twitter, according to Sysosmos. People around the United States are outraged that NFL players, who are role models to many young kids across the nation, are setting an example that kneeling during the anthem in an acceptable action.
Also, geographically, it is not surprising that the most attention is in the United States. The United States makes up over 93% of the mentions on Twitter, but in countries such as Canada and the UK there are also mentions of this issue deeming it a global concern.
Lastly, we looked at a word cloud and a buzzgraph to see what words were being mentioned and which were connected with each other. We quickly realized there was a Browns game where players took a knee on Fox by looking at the buzz graph. Plus, the mentions of “joke,” “cowardly,” and “losers” were used in the mentions of this event.
Although, it is not a trending Twitter topic anymore it is still an alarming issue in our country that gains global attention every Sunday.
Jake Silverman, Julie Miner, and Hannah Clary