Miss America 2019: Emili McPhail (Virginia) won the prelims with a no-holds-barred response on NFL protests
Miss Virginia Emili McPhail, during preliminary rounds, was asked about the ongoing protests - an issue sparked by players kneeling down while the national anthem is played.
While NFL fans and half of the nation - including President Trump - are all riled up about the latest controversy surrounding the national anthem protest, a certain Miss America contestant is focussing her attention, right where it should be - on the topic of police brutality.
During Thursday's preliminary rounds, Miss Virginia Emili McPhail was asked about her opinion and advises on the ongoing NFL protests - an issue sparked by players kneeling down while the national anthem is played, in an attempt to raise awareness towards racial injustice. And surprisingly enough, McPhail didn't hold back as she answered the question, offering her honest take and even scoring a spot in the 2019 pageant with her preliminary-round win.
“Kneeling during the national anthem is absolutely a right that you have, to stand up for what you believe in, and to make the right decision that’s right for you,” 22-year-old McPhail said, responding to the onstage question, as per reports. “It’s very important that we also have to take into consideration that it is not about kneeling: It is absolutely about police brutality," she added.
The burgeoning controversy has divided not only the fans in the recent past but also has drawn the ire of the US President, who in his frequent criticism, has been quite vocal about his disapproval of the stance taken by many NFL players, following in the footsteps of Colin Kaepernick (the quarterback who started the protests).
@MissAmericaOrg Sorry you feel that you have to further divide America with a NFL question in a girlie pageant (Miss America should represent all of America not just the left), an important subject in a silly sound bite question - really! Done with you.— Mary Blake (@Mfblake53) September 7, 2018
Speaking about the issue, though, the Miss America hopeful appeared quite confident, even when she was asked if she feared any flak following her response on the protests. “I said standing up for what you believe in is the most important thing that you can do, and that’s what I did,” said McPhail, a graduate of Hollins University, adding, “I was very happy to have that moment, to be honest, because it’s not always easy.”
Meanwhile, the Miss America competition has been drawing some flak of its own on account of the criticism against the chairwoman of the Miss America Organization, Gretchen Carlson. On Thursday, in fact, as the second night of preliminary competition was underway, signs were put up around Atlantic City calling Carlson "so fake" and a "bully."
Although it's not known who's responsible for the signs hung across the city, it's believed that the criticism is because of accusations how Carlson bullied and silenced Cara Mund, the reigning Miss America.