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Should Athletes Kneel During the National Anthem?: Counterpoint

Shana Neto, Opinions Editor

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   Despite the motive or intended message, kneeling during the national anthem should not be tolerated on a sports platform. Exercising free speech or not, game day is one of those times that the people may choose to put aside political views to crack a cold one with the boys and bond over one of America’s most beloved pastimes. Why ruin the mood — possibly making a veteran feel disrespected or unappreciated while trying to hang out and watch the men they love play the sport(s) they love?

   For those who are unaware, the initial instigator of the act is 49ers’ Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who stated, “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 is quite ironic seeing how much of the NFL is dominated by Black men. Seventy percent of the NFL’s players are Black men who get paid millions to pass a piece of leather around, but no, stick it to the man!  ( Successful football players can seem hypocritical when they are protesting, because they owe their success to the institution that is playing the national anthem in the first place. Additionally, no White fan watches football for a lesson on race. Uncomfortable displays of protest on the field may alienate White viewers more than turn them into allies; deliberately making a large population of the American populace uncomfortable will turn a player into a villain and prevent people from listening rather than getting the word out.

   One thing for sure is that people of color have been treated completely unfairly for the majority of U.S. history. There’s no denying that just about every ethnic background has been mistreated in the eyes of law at some point. However, voicing political opinions through a sport is not the way to go about change, as pointed out by UC High Varsity Football Player Juan Leyva: “I understand there are many problems regarding race, but the anthem represents what many Americans have fought and died for.” Leyva went on to say that his own father served in the military, and to kneel is to disrespect the sacrifice of those who put their lives on the line to ensure the people’s safety.

   President Donald Trump himself has no problem with people protesting for what they believe in. In a recent tweet, he said that locking arms is perfectly fine, yet kneeling is a no go ( Despite still being an act of protest, locking arms is a happy medium because its upright position displays a greater sense of respect for the American flag than kneeling does. While many people have mixed feelings about our Commander in Chief, it’s safe to say this isn’t an unreasonable opinion.

   Yet in an effort to keep his kneeling trend on the rise, a sports and entertainment network reported that Kaepernick said, “People are really feeling their humanity and really feeling like, you know what, this might not be something I experience on a daily basis, but it’s not right that these other people are going through this. And that’s ultimately what it comes down to” ( People of all backgrounds serve in our military, and many of them are currently going through and facing tough times every day. And many have already suffered… We stand for them — with them — so why not stand for those you feel are going through their own hell and let your mourning be seen without disrespecting all of those who put their lives’ on the line for you?

   As Senior Hunter Reyes put it, “People pay to see sports. They don’t pay to see politics.”

   There are plenty of ways to get your message out there. Use the internet; nothing goes unnoticed these days! Games may get a lot of attention, but the anthem has nothing to do with current, or past, injustice.

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Should Athletes Kneel During the National Anthem?: Counterpoint