Taking A Knee: An Attempt to Unify that Only Divides

In recent months, the Black Lives Matter movement has grown tremendously and the massive movement is the current center of media outlets around the world. Some in support of the message have shown their respect by kneeling to the flag and the national anthem of the United States, like ex San-Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Many other sports players have followed his lead and kneeled during their respective games. The point of the kneeling is to fight the systemic racism found within the laws and government of the US, along with any other type of mainstream prejudice that would allow them to understand the flag and the nation does not stand for all. Kneeling for the flag breeds segregation, not unity–it’s disrespectful to the brave men and women of all races who fight for this country and its freedoms and most importantly, it’s an ineffective and counterintuitive way to protest their message.

“The right to choose whether or not you as an athlete should kneel or stand is completely up to the player, although we all have our own opinions, they should be entitled to their own,” sophomore Ryan Mcfadden said.

Standing up for what you believe in is always a respectable measure, especially when putting things on the line to convey the message. The question is, however, should players stand or kneel for our national anthem? The reality is kneeling for the flag does not create unity, but rather divide. Colin Kaepernick, the person who popularized the protest, for example, kneeled to protest police brutality while simultaneously wearing socks with pigs dressed in police uniform. His message reasons we should all be equal but treats and categorizes people into groups. This is evident in his wearing of the ill-messaged socks which almost led to the boycott of the Santa Clara Police Union. This created a rift between those all of those who want equality.

Kneeling also leads to the disrespecting of all who are in or have served in the armed forces. These honorable men and women have fought for the rights of all in this country and have died such a pursuit. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints quarterback, supported the message but not the delivery, saying “It’s an oxymoron that you’re sitting down, disrespecting the flag that has given you the freedom to speak out.” The actuality is that disrespecting the flag by kneeling is a undermining move to our military, our history and even people like Martin Luther King Junior who fought for civil rights in this nation and succeeded the beginning of taking down racist policies and mainstream prejudice in society.

“I feel that players have very right to represent however they feel, whether or not it is the popular opinion because at the end of the day, they are all human and they have their own reasons for their actions,” junior Alejandro Delgado said.

Lastly, the movement of sports players kneeling to the flag is mainly performative and does not enact the justice they preach. Johnathan Isaac, a basketball player for the Orland0 Magic, explains how he views the movement saying “I do believe that Black lives matter, I just felt like it was a decision I had to make, and I didn’t feel like putting that shirt on and kneeling went hand in hand with supporting Black lives.” The United States is not a perfect union or nation, but its laws and government create a representation of society that demonstrates a lack of racism and bias against minorities in comparison to other nations. Laws are constantly being passed regarding Black lives, but the kneeling itself is mainly performative and does not prove any benefit but disrespect to the flag. The truth is, the political message of the protest does not do anything to actually benefit the Black community.

Some people believe that kneeling to the flag bring justice and awareness to the systemic racism found in this nation and that it addresses police brutality and other oppression of minorities. However, this does not do much for the black community or bring any type of real benefit. It’s only ability is to create divide in a time when we should all stand together.

All in all, the kneeling to the flag by sports players and teams is an ineffective and counterproductive way to promote any cause or change in this country. It’s disrespectful to many and causes divide among our population in an unnecessary way. People need to find better ways like the NBA did to support and rise up the minority communities in the US that would actually be beneficial. The leaders need to realize this and elevate these types of promotions in order to bring about real positive change. We should all ‘stand’ for change.

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