The Observer

Those who take a knee for the anthem should stand down

By Ethan C. Miller, Staff Writer

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During the last National Football League (NFL) season, then San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick knelt during the national anthem. His actions sparked numerous protests by athletes across the nation that intended to bring about awareness of racial inequality and injustice. After several controversial tweets were made by President Donald Trump directed towards Stephen Curry and several other athletes Sept. 23, the majority of the NFL rebooted the protests by taking part in kneeling during the national anthem.

Racial inequality is a large issue in the U.S. However, protesting it by kneeling during the national anthem is not the correct way to do so. Many in the U.S. regard not standing during the anthem to be very disrespectful to the flag and all it symbolizes: freedom, our military and the country itself. By kneeling during the anthem, it is disrespectful to all of those who fought for the freedom that this country proudly offers. Many individuals in the U.S. military risk their lives day in and day out for the people of America, and standing for the flag is the greatest sign of appreciation for those people. There are other ways to protest injustices in America besides sitting during the national anthem, and protesters should utilize them.

According to Yahoo Sports, African-Canadian National Hockey League (NHL) defensemen P.K. Subban said that he would never kneel during the national anthem. Subban, one of the most prominent black hockey players, said that he has too much respect for the American flag and what it stands for to not stand during the anthem.

Subban, who is not even American, understands that protesting during the national anthem sparks unnecessary controversy. Soldiers sacrificed their lives to make the U.S. the democracy that it is today they should not be disrespected by a protest that could be done in a more effective and less problematic way.

According to The Washington Post, the Dallas Cowboys found a way to get their message across without the controversy of kneeling during the national anthem. After a series of teams took a knee during games Sept. 24, the Cowboys, along with their owner Jerry Jones, linked arms and took a knee on the field prior to the anthem.

Instead of kneeling during the anthem when people are supposed to stand, the Cowboys took a knee in protest before then. Since it was not during the anthem, the protest meant no disrespect to the American flag, the soldiers who bravely fight for the American people nor the countless individuals who transformed the U.S. into the great nation that it is today.

While many NFL teams have used the kneeling protest, there have been mixed reactions throughout MCPS athletics concerning whether they should protest or not.

According to Bethesda Magazine, CHS football head coach Willie Williams prefers that students on the CHS football team link arms in unity rather than take a knee.

While MCPS policy permits students to express their individual views through “patriotic exercises,”the CHS football team chose not to kneel during their Sept. 24 game against Bethesda Chevy-Chase HS and instead stood together in unity while several BCC student athletes knelt. Along with BCC, some of Watkins Mill HS and Blair HS athletes knelt during the anthem.

Kneeling during the national anthem could be seen as an effective way to protest for racial equality because it draws attention, especially when broadcasted on national television. The extra controversy it creates could bring more attention to the issue. However, there are many other, equally effective ways of protesting, such as what the Dallas Cowboys did.

Instead of kneeling during the national anthem, professional athletes could use their public platforms to fight for racial equality. This could include making donations, setting up organizations and much more. The Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE), an alliance created by democratic politician Jocelyn Benson, aims to promote equality in professional sports through public awareness campaigns and educational programming. The creation of organizations similar to this could lead to an increase in awareness and equality.

The flag, and the national anthem, are symbols of the American spirit and its core values of freedom and liberty. Sitting or kneeling during the national anthem is not only disrespectful of these values, but the brave men and women who fought to protect them. Racial inequality is a huge problem that should be fought against, but in a manner that does not disrespect others.

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Those who take a knee for the anthem should stand down