The crowd is screaming, fan are crying for joy. Excitement is roaring through the stadium, then one player takes a knee during our National Anthem. The crowds respond in confusion and a murmur spreads through the stadium. Like wildfire the tweets and images flood social media channels. And like wildfire, in subsequent sporting events, more players join in the silent kneeling protest during the playing of our National Anthem.
How did this whole craze begin? During the 2016 season, San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick chose to kneel instead of stand at attention for our flag and anthem. He later spoke out stating that kneeling is his way of bringing attention to racism and police brutality. He is quoted as saying, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” This choice of Kaepernick was a show of respect and support of equal rights. After Kaepernick’s protest went viral on social media, other NFL players joined his kneeling protest.
How are people responding? Well, there is a lot of mixed emotion from, ranging from support and pride, as demonstrated by NFL players, to hate and counter protest, like suggestions of boycotting watching televised NFL games. Even the President Trump has tweeted his disapproval of the protests.He feels it is disrespectful to our country, flag, and military.
The President’s response developed into a command, “Very important that NFL players stand tomorrow, and always, for the playing of our National Anthem. Respect our flag and our Country!” In response, players started to wear gear with the phrase “Everybody vs. Trump” President Trump responds further with a tweet that suggests, “If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend!”
Not all see the protests as simply for or against. Faith Sullivan, a freshman at Samueli Academy believes “Some people believe it’s good because they are doing it as a way to represent our country for equal rights. Some aren't seeing it as a good thing because they think it is causing more conflict.” While passion is high on either side - kneeling, or standing at attention during our anthem, eventually social media and people will move on to the next viral craze. But sadly, will any of the underlying issues that triggered the passions in the first place be resolved?
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