To Kneel or Not to Kneel

On August 26th, NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick sparked a national debate by sitting on the bench during the national anthem. The San Francisco 49ers captain explained that his actions were a way to protest the oppression of people of color and the ongoing issues with police brutality. When questioned by the media, Kaepernick said, “ When there’s significant change and I feel that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent, and this country is representing people the way that it’s supposed to, I’ll stand.” He continued his statement, claiming  “This stand wasn’t for me. I’m seeing things happen to people that… don’t have a platform to talk and have their voices heard. So I’m in the position where I can do that and I’m going to do that for people that can’t.” After receiving backlash for his actions, Kaepernick decided to modify his protest. On September 1st, Kaepernick and his teammate Eric Reid both kneeled for the national anthem. This protest inspired many athletes around America to perform their own forms of protest during the national anthem.

Those who disagree with Colin Kaepernick’s actions believe that by kneeling during the national anthem, he is disrespecting the American flag and those who are serving and have served in the United States Armed Forces.. Those who support Kaepernick’s protest claim that there is nothing wrong with what he is doing. He is not harming anybody in any way and is exercising his First Amendment right.  He is simply exercising a liberty granted to him as an American citizen.

When asked about the situation, Morris Hills senior Ryan O’Neil answered, “I feel that it’s disrespectful to America and Americans who believe in their country.”  While Freshman Merwan Yeditha stated, “Technically, he has the constitutional right to protest, but whether it’s right or wrong depends on the person.”  People have differing opinions about Kaepernick kneeling, and we are fortunate we live in a country where those opinions can be shared.