Take A Knee Protest Sparks Controversy Among NFL and the American nation


Colin Kaepernick kneeling during National Anthem, 2016

By Alexa Soroka and Michael Lehman

Recent tweets from President Donald Trump sparked controversy over the Take A Knee protests that recently began in 2016 by former San Francisco 49ers Quarterback, Colin Kaepernick. Since then, a fire has ignited across the league, with several other players of the National Football League, as well as national figures and American citizens.

Coaches, owners, and players of the NFL stood (or kneeled) with interlocked arms to symbolize support and a sense of brotherhood for each other. Some teams, such as the Titans, Seahawks, and Steelers even stayed in the locker room for the duration of the national anthem and came out once the anthem had ended. Even internationally, in London, the Jaguars and Ravens both knelt for the U.S. national anthem and stood up for the national anthem of England.

Kaepernick began this protest in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, getting the idea of kneeling from Martin Luther King Jr. He argues that ¨I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”

The quarterback had been referencing recent shootings of African Americans by the police. Some of these situations include the shooting of Philando Castille by a police officer in St. Paul, Minnesota. Castile’s girlfriend, Diana Reynolds, claims that her boyfriend was shot for no apparent reason.

Aside from Kaepernick’s true motives, there has been much speculation about whether this was an appropriate gesture by the NFL star.

Donald Trump issued a tweet addressing the situation by saying, “If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL, or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect…our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem. If not, YOU’RE FIRED. Find something else to do!” He proceeded, in a series of tweets, to acknowledge that these gestures were disrespected and disgraceful to our country and all that the United States stands for.

Richard Childress, a NASCAR owner, agreed with Trump by saying, ¨anybody that works for me should respect the country we live in. So many people gave their lives for it. This is America.¨

In an informal poll conducted by The Patriot Press, 100 students said taking a knee is not an appropriate way to protest while 83 said it is.  Members of the Wayne Hills football team also believe that ¨it is unpatriotic and disrespectful to those who have served our country,” says Josef Kubufsik, freshman.

Kubufisiks friend, Owais Hobbi, is in agreement that the protests have ¨lost meaning at this point,¨ and that the protests are inappropriate for the NFL.

On the other hand, many individuals have shown great amounts of support for the protest.

Those supporting the football players who kneel, such as senior Trevor Brooks, say, “They have a right to protest and stand up or kneel, for what they believe. In the end, they’re showing their support for a cause in a peaceful way that raises awareness.”

Many are supportive of Kaepernick, including many widely known individuals over social media, and in person.

Linda Sarsour, a Palestinian-American political activist, has expressed her own opinion on this issue. Regarding the controversy, she stated, ¨Speak the truth even if your voice shakes. Make no mistake about it we stand with Kaepernick. #TakeAKnee.¨

Pharrell Williams, singer and songwriter, told a crowd of fans at his recent concert, ¨If I want to get on my knees right now for the people of my city, for the people of my state, that’s what this flag is for.¨

It is clear that this debate has caused much tension between American residents and the National Football League athletes. Although this event has caused much dispute, the American nation has other more important worries, both nationally and internationally, to focus on.