Taking a Knee

Ofaanga Talanoa, Staff Writer

Kneeling during the National Anthem is a protest that was started in 2016 by the quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers, Colin Kaepernick, when he started to sit during the National Anthem. This went on for two weeks before the media began questioning him. Then he started to “Take a Knee” – kneeling during the Anthem. This earned the attention of people and started a big controversy of whether kneeling is disrespecting those who have fallen for this country or not.

But what is really the reason that these players are kneeling? Well, kneeling depicts a peaceful protest against racism and police brutality. As Kaepernick put it, “Why should I show pride in a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” This stirred up a storm leaving some athletes unemployed and the media spewing a lot of words about it. Rihanna has reportedly refused to perform in the upcoming Super Bowl because of her support for Kaepernick. On the other hand, president Donald trump tweeted, “Commissioner must now make a stand. First time kneeling, out for game. Second time kneeling, out for season/no pay!” showing his disapproval of the protest.

Colt Roundup interviewed some students trying to find varieties of thoughts on the protest, but the results were mainly leaning on one side. One junior at Cottonwood High School expressed her strong opinion saying, “I think they are doing good and I hope that it would encourage more people to do it.” She was asked if she would ever kneel during the National Anthem, “Yes, definitely, I don’t even stand when we are doing the pledge because why would I show pride in something that is promoting  injustice and I don’t have anything against the military or anything because this has nothing to do with them. This protest is about racism and police brutality toward the black community.” Another student, Moa Ieremia voiced his thoughts, “ I don’t think it’s disrespectful at all, because everyone is free to do what they want. Isn’t this a free country? Besides they are not hurting anybody, they are peacefully protesting no violence.”  Patricia Segura, a freshman at Cottonwood High School said, “Well, I don’t think it’s disrespectful at all but it’s not necessary for them to do it.”

On the other hand, Mrs.Herbon, a teacher at Cottonwood explained her beliefs saying, “I’m a very patriotic person, and I think they should show respect by just standing, I don’t care if they don’t say the pledge, sing to the Anthem or put their hand on their chest, but just standing shows respect to the country. I also expect my students to stand during the pledge to show respect.” Moreover, former Colt Roundup editor, Tomas D’Anella wrote via e-mail, “Personally, I see both sides of the argument. I understand wanting to protest, and pro sports are one of the biggest platforms to send a message. But there is a national anthem to honor those who fought for your freedom to play the game. I think that outweighs the protest. Pro athletes are role models for many young children watching the sport. If you send a message that it’s ok to kneel during the anthem, impressionable minds will start doing so.”