A Project for Better Journalism chapter
Sports, The Watchdog (Opinion)

Where I Stand While Others Kneel

Back in 2016 former 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick took it upon himself to kneel during the National Anthem. In a KTVU press conference Colin spoke out and said “Ultimately it’s to bring awareness and make people realize what’s really going on in this country.”

Kaepernick told NFL Media after Friday’s game  “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”  

This protest has gotten a lot of attention both negative and positive. Back in 1955 Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man, because back then if you were colored you had to sit at the back of the bus. This was also a silent protest but it also brought a lot attention and now because of her you are able to sit wherever you want .

Since Kaepernick’s protest many more NFL teams have kneeled. High school students all over have taken a knee. Monroe High in New Jersey kneeled during the national anthem before their game.

Not everyone stands for the anthem, not everyone says the Pledge of Allegiance. Why aren’t we judging their actions?  

Being an NFL player you automatically have this big platform. People look up to you and see everything you do or say. We expect these big people to act a certain way and when they don’t we question it.

Let me remind you nowhere in the Constitution does it specifically say that you are supposed to stand or sit during the anthem; but the First Amendment gives us the right to do so.

“As Americans you do have every right to protest, and you do have every right to be offended,” social studies teacher Mark Abling said.  

So what is all the fussing about?

“It did not make a difference. It made the division of the country greater, and there are much better ways of doing so,” National Guard recruiter Lane Parker said. What other ways exactly?

The football coaches at Arvada talked to their players about respect, and let them know that their actions will and can affect the people around them. They explained to them that it was their choice if they wanted to kneel.

They had to understand why Kaepernick himself kneeled and why they have chosen to kneel if that’s their choice, not because of someone else did it. The team agreed that they would all stand during the anthem because they are a “Family.”

Colin Kaepernick had every right to kneel, he had a legitimate reason. It’s not right that we do not hear him out and turn the other way.

His intentions were not to make anyone angry his intentions were that  people would hopefully hear him out and help change the problems in our society.

It is wrong that as a country instead of being understanding and respectful of others we judge and criticize others opinions.  

As a school and as a country, we can all come to an agreement, but first we need to be okay with being more open minded and listen to each other.