Kneeling for the National Anthem

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Kneeling for the National Anthem

Atavia Denmark, Contributor

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Have you noticed the big buzz in the NFL? Have you noticed the players opting to kneel for the National Anthem instead of standing? The NFL is an organization that has brought great entertainment to the United States while at the same time showcasing some of the greatest athletes in the world. First being televised Oct. 22, 1939, the sport of football has brought many people together, in many great ways but at the same time causing conflict. In the past year, the NFL has been in an uproar due to an action, one choice made by a player. A player by the name of Colin Kaepernick.

Colin Kaepernick, former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, recently took a stand for something that is not often brought up as much; the oppression of black people and people of color. How did he do this? Throughout the first three games of the 2016 NFL Pre-Season, spanning from Aug. 11 to Aug. 28, Kaepernick sat on the bench during the National Anthem. This left many in disgust, disbelief, and awe. Why would he disrespect the National Anthem? Why would he disrespect the country he lives in? Why would he disrespect the fallen soldiers, the men and women who fight for our country? Well, it turns out he is not disrespecting anyone or anything, he is just exercising his first amendment, the right to protest peacefully. Prior to the fourth and final game of the 2016 NFL Pre-Season, a former long snapper and U.S. Green Beret, spoke with Kaepernick prior to the final game and said, “We sorta came to a middle ground where he would take a knee alongside his teammates…Soldiers take a knee in front of a fallen brother’s grave—to show respect,” (via cbssports.com). So to be more respectful in his decision, Kaepernick decided to kneel instead of just sitting on the bench.

Personally, I think it is totally not disrespectful to kneel for the National Anthem. To be honest, there is still oppression of black people and people of color. This country is supposed to be the ‘Land of the Free’ and to this day, police officers can just gun down and racially profile young black men. Why should Kaepernick, or anyone stand for that? I don’t think we’ll ever know. It is funny, (not really) because there are still people that prove this statement true today. It is mind boggling that a “cosmetologist, someone holding a curling iron has more education and more training than people that have a gun and are going out on the street to protect us,” (via nbcsports.com). That is insane to me knowing that the police officers, government officials, can become a cop in six months. Now these are not bias statements, these are factual. The cops that do their job need to step up and put these sick and twisted cops to shame. Another reason I feel that what Kaepernick is doing isn’t disrespectful, is because if you go back and analyze the whole Star Spangled Banner, the third stanza celebrates the death of slaves. “No refuge could save the hireling and slave—From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave…” Writer and academic Jason Johnson, says that essentially what Francis Scott Key is saying is that, “He is happy to see the former slaves who had joined the British as part of their colonial marines getting slaughtered…” Even though that part is not mentioned when singing the National Anthem, we still have to take into account that, this part of the National Anthem is very racist. As I mentioned earlier, why should we stand for that? The topic really agitates me and this is why I think kneeling for the National Anthem isn’t disrespectful.

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