Kenneth Borycz ‘18: Really? It’s this still a thing? Taking a knee. Great job Colin Kaepernick, at least you started one thing, because we all know you won’t start another NFL game. Football and politics… I’ll say it again: football and politics. They should never mix.
But the real question remains the same: why? Because you feel oppressed? It’s ironic. Most players earn multi-million-dollar contracts, but feel oppressed? You feel oppressed when there may be people of all races and religions living in poverty. And yet men and women risk their lives day-in and day-out for your freedom and safety. People who live on maybe $30,000 a year. Sunday, September 24, a day that should be a complete disgrace for not only every football fan but every American. Almost every NFL team “protested” last weekend. Take the Pittsburgh Steelers for instance, almost all of the team remained in the tunnel, while one player, Alejandro Villanueva, a retired army ranger, who served three tours in Afghanistan, stood on the field… alone.
President Trump held a rally on September 22, which some say sparked these “protests” this past weekend.
“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. He’s fired!’” President Trump said.
Some say that he spoke out of hand, but honestly, I say all the power to him. Most Americans probably thought that way and still think that way. Yes, sometimes President Trump says things he shouldn’t, but isn’t that why he obtained the presidency? Because he was unlike any other president candidate the United States.
Protesting is a right given by the First Amendment. I believe in our Bill of Rights, but I don’t believe how the NFL players went at it the right way. These cry babies need to give it up and see what’s really wrong with the world and find a better way of protesting than disrespecting our flag and national anthem.
To put all politics aside, it saddens me to think that our nation’s youth will grow up thinking that kneeling for the flag’s okay. These men of the NFL are role models and they allow so much disrespect and disloyalty to men and women who fight and die for this country.
Thank you to Alejandro Villanueva and the countless others who chose to stand the right thing and stand for the flag. Thank you to the men and women who serve this country in the military. Thank you to the police, the firefighters, and the paramedics. Just because a few don’t see it, remember that you are the backbone of this country.
Kayla Yax ‘18: The Flag, the national anthem, the Pledge of Allegiance. They are all symbols of the rights given to us by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Symbols of the values and ideals held by Americans, of diversity, of opportunity, of the rights that every single American is supposed to have. No matter where you come from, it’s liberty and justice for all. However, many Americans feel that these symbols don’t reflect the realities of the world they’re facing.
Over a year ago Colin Kaepernick, former quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers, helped start a conversation. A conversation many people did not want to have. It started the day he made the decision to kneel during the national anthem in protest of police brutality, systematic racism, and the injustice and inequality faced by black Americans and people of color.
According to CNN, his reasoning was simple, “[I’m] not going to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”
His protests made people uncomfortable to think that their nation, their flag, their anthem, did not hold the same glimmer of pride for some people as it does for others.
Many Americans across the nation felt betrayed, and disrespected by Kaepernick’s protests. But to say that Kaepernick was protesting the national anthem, or the stars and stripes is like saying that Rosa Parks was protesting buses, or that the March on Washington was a protest against the Lincoln Memorial.
Recently, President Trump held a rally in Alabama. He, for whatever reason, had a few choice words to share about those in the NFL that chose to kneel during the national anthem, saying that NFL owners should have fired any player that chose to kneel.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag to say get the son of bitch off the field right now, he’s fired. He’s fired!” President Trump said.
If you have to bleep the president’s words on national television, it’s never a good sign. He has a right to express his opinion about the matter, as all Americans do, but to talk like that in the position he’s in is unacceptable. The response from players across the nation was powerful. On September 24, 2017, players knelt, joined arms, and raised fists. Some teams didn’t even take the field during the national anthem. NFL team owners came out and supported their teams, giving speeches condemning Trump’s statements against their players.
So now the question is should they have done it? A lot of people argue that it was inappropriate to protest during the anthem, at a football game. That there are better places, better ways but really where is an appropriate place to protest?
They are using their platform to bring awareness to the issue and make a statement. As Americans it is their first amendment right to protest and to stand up for what they believe is right whether you agree with it or not.