NFL ‘Take A Knee’ Controversy Spreads

More and more pro players are choosing to kneel during the National Anthem

NFL 'Take A Knee' Controversy Spreads

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Kneeling in order to stand up: How ironic does that sound? But that is exactly what the recent wave of protests involving NFL players has consisted of. The movement began in August of 2016 when Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, kneeled during the National Anthem at the beginning of the game to protest police violence against African Americans. He immediately faced backlash for disrespecting the flag and those who serve to protect it. Others argue that he is just exercising the very rights the flag and those who hold it up award us.

Then, President Donald Trump posted multiple tweets ridiculing players kneeling during the games. He also, according to NBC News, went on a verbal rant in an Alabama speech, stating, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired.’” Many people are outraged due to the contrast between the remarks and the fact that the white supremacists at the Charlottesville riot in August were dubbed “very fine people” while those peacefully protesting were called “son of a bitch[es].” Although his comments proved offensive, the outrage over them has sparked a heated conversation with the hashtag #takeaknee trending over social media.

The topic has clearly shown great divide, with some calling for people to boycott the NFL games and others encouraging people to “take a knee.” Even some people on Twitter have claimed to be vets and subsequently made statements supporting those who kneel. This includes a 97-year old vet who was pictured kneeling in solidarity with the players in a now-viral post. The caption, composed by his grandson, @brennanmgilmore, states, “My grandpa is a 97 year-old WWII vet…who wanted to join w/ those who #TakeaKnee: ‘those kids have every right to protest.’”

Lately, many people have been claiming their approval or disapproval with the kneeling, including Nicholas Trezza, a football coach here at South. When asked if the football stadium is an inappropriate place to protest, Trezza answered, saying, “People have protested in football stadiums for years, from holding up signs, to running across the field. Any public place is a stage for a protest.” Also involved in the discussion are South students Vienne Urban and Ian Macdonald. Urban, a sophomore here at South believes that although the topic of racial injustice and what players are kneeling for needs to be addressed, the way in which Kaepernick and others are doing it, is not quite right, “I fully support Black Lives Matter and I believe people need to know about everything going on, but I think there needs to be another way. We stand for the anthem… to give honor to those who risk [their] lives.” Meanwhile, Macdonald, also a sophomore student believes that protesting is a part of our constitutional rights, “It is our right as US citizens to be able to publicly display our views. When people say that football players should stand and shouldn’t kneel, they are, in turn, saying that the football players shouldn’t be allowed to display their views, and that right there is more un-American than kneeling during any anthem.”