Football National Anthem Kneeling Controversy


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Colin Kaepernick Takes a Knee During the National Anthem

Desiree Hernandez, News Editor

Many are confused about why some athletes take a knee on the national anthem. It means they’re supporting “The right to protest police abuse towards black people.” Colin Kaepernick was the first man to take a knee during the national anthem on September 1, 2016. Not only did his act spread throughout the NFL, but also to most high school events as people adopted his act for respect.

When Kaepernick took the knee, he was booed by many, because fans were thinking he was disrespecting the national anthem. But, it wasn’t long before many people noticed that he wanted to explain that the act was in protest of police brutality against black Americans. “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick announced to the NFL media after that Friday’s game.

“To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” His popularity went downhill quickly after his act, it was difficult for Kaepernick. Showing up to games knowing he’ll hear so much negative comments from people. At the time, he couldn’t do much to defend his reputation. So he sucked it up and continued to live what was around him. Soon he noticed that he wasn’t alone, many began to take his action and spread the word, such as football teams, even at school events.

President Donald J. Trump commented about Kaepernick’s ‘disrespectful’ act. “If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL, or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect our great American flag (or country) and should stand for the national anthem. If not, YOU’RE FIRED. Find something else to do!” He tweeted on Twitter on September 23, 2017. His tweets continued throughout the weekend and beyond.

It did not take long before some of the NFL players noticed his comments and responded to him. “The behavior of the President is unacceptable and needs to be addressed. If you do not condemn this divisive rhetoric you are condoning it!!” responded Richard Sherman, cornerback for the Seattle Seahawks. With Trump fanning the flames, 32 teams in the NFL opened with statements from their owners. “Take a knee” was soon to be understood as not a sign of disrespect, but to ‘stand’ for those of color and those being disrespected by law enforcement and others.

People respected his protest, then and to this day, and it has inspired so many other athletes to start acting on the “take a knee” stance towards the national anthem.