Why We Should Care About Taking a Knee

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick walks off the field after warm ups before an NFL preseason football game against the San Diego Chargers in San Diego on Sept. 1 2016

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick walks off the field after warm ups before an NFL preseason football game against the San Diego Chargers in San Diego on Sept. 1 2016

This past Sunday, NFL teams were more subdued in their protests, which garnered less attention than those of previous weeks.

The issue has become a flashpoint for Americans since President Trump said on September 22 that NFL team owners should fire "son of a bitch" anthem protesters, and then spent the weekend waging war against the league in a flurry of tweets. Athletes across the country are showing their support, from high schoolers to college athletes. For example, the Dallas Cowboys, alongside owner Jerry Jones, locked arms and kneeled before the national anthem and stood with locked arms before their game against the Arizona Cardinals on September 25. "We chose to kneel because it's a respectful gesture". It should be pointed out to players and coaches that we continue to be judged by the public in this area of respect for the flag and our country. Their net worth should not disqualify them from speaking on things plaguing their communities. Unlike nationalism that claims a nation-state's or a race's superiority, patriotism surpasses such a fallacious notion. But, people don't care about that, for they just see the main picture which is players not respecting and rising for our flag.

Yes, clearly our country is divided right now. It should never be that way. Appropriate, can not and should not be confused with the word "right", or "agree". There was no need to call any of them that.

TD: What is it about sports that you think helps emphasize Kaepernick's message about racial injustice?

It's so unnecessary to do, and if they believe what they think of the teams are doing then there's nothing to change their mind.

"For the 29 states we operate in, this isn't much to them, but it's a lot to us". This protest raises awareness for people to understand what is happening in our country.

Police brutality and violent inequality spurred against African Americans catalyzed the protests in addition to recent events such as those in Charlottesville, Va. Kneeling is less about actually trying to solve problems and more about complaining about them. While it is a constitutional right of the player to do so, it is not acceptable on a grand stage.

Multiple people people believe that Trump should not be synonymous with what the American Flag and the National Anthem represent. "Find something else to do", President Trump responded on Twitter to protesting players. By not respecting the national anthem, it is nearly like saying those in the military do not matter.

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Presently, many football players have taken up the mantle. We each have the right to express ourselves in any way we wish. What it could mean, is that the respondents merely accept that the players have a right to protest. They were criticized for being unpatriotic and for disrespecting the military - but their protests had nothing to do with that.

As the 2016 season went on, a handful of other players joined Kaepernick and took a knee for the playing of the national anthem.

There are certain things that you can now come to expect on any given Sunday in the National Football League: games will be won and games will be lost, fans will cheer and fans will boo.

Prior to the Bombers' game September 30, Gladney said that he alerted his teammates that he was going to display a sign of protest, and while they didn't want to join him, they weren't opposed to him doing so.

We've heard talking points like this so many times before, often from wealthy and privileged minority athletes like Kaepernick, politicians, media members or celebrities. Players can do that in their free time. I was foolish in thinking that sports and politics should remain separate, as if they were two different animals. Even singer Jordin Sparks, who got the limelight for her rendition of the Anthem, took a political stand. It is not only because the National Football League is 70 percent African American.

Protest all you want, just leave the flag out of it.

At London's Wembley Stadium, where the NFL's first game was played on Sunday, three members of the Miami Dolphins knelt as US singer Darius Rucker performed the USA anthem.

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