Video and story by Colin Hilton
This fall the controversy known as #TakeAKnee took on a new level of controversy. It began when athletes silently protested police brutality and racial inequality during the National Anthem, and became even more heated when President Trump argued that the movement disrespects "our soldiers, our flag, and our National Anthem."
Background: On August 14, 2016, Colin Kaepernick took a knee for the National Anthem unnoticed. Nobody thought of it as anything. After a few weeks of no publicity and not much attention, Colin Kaepernick was asked why he did not stand. He replied, ”I'm going to continue to stand with the people that are being oppressed. To me, this is something that has to change. 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.”
From there on out the phenomenon set by the 49er quarterback began. Over the course of a few weeks players around the country argue that they took a knee, or raised a fist, not in disrespect of the flag, but to promote change in the country they loved so much. Kaepernick states,"I have great respect for the men and women that have fought for this country. I have family, I have friends that have gone and fought for this country. And they fight for freedom, they fight for the people, they fight for liberty and justice, for everyone. That’s not happening. People are dying in vain because this country isn’t holding their end of the bargain up, as far as giving freedom and justice, liberty to everybody. That’s something that’s not happening.” Kaepernick says that his protest is still about police brutality against black men, and wanted to promote change.
At the beginning of the 2017 football season #TakeAKnee entered a whole new era. Instead of looking about what they protest was truly about, the killing of men and women in America, the protest views shifted to people’s opinions against President Trump. At a rally in Alabama President Trump weighed his opinion on taking a knee during the National Anthem in the NFL stating, “But you know what’s hurting the game more than that? When people like yourselves turn on television and you see those people taking the knee when they are playing our great National Anthem. The only thing you could do better is if you see it, even if it’s one player, leave the stadium, I guarantee things will stop. Things will stop. Just pick up and leave. Not the same game anymore anyway.Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out. He’s fired. He’s fired!'”
After those comments more than the NFL responded. We saw stars of all calibers unite to voice an opinion. 2017 NBA champion The Golden State Warriors refused to go the White House, Lebron James stood up for what he believed in, Eminem voiced his opinion on the President’s interference in the sport, and even Stevie Wonder took two knees for America. This type of protest had never been seen before by so many big figures. In our history we have seen people like Muhammad Ali, Jackie Robinson, and Kanye West voice their own opinion on politics, and change in our country, but there has never been something quite like this. That week of football a record number of players took a knee, and this time owners and coaches stood behind their player’s opinions. Four teams did not even show up on the field for the Anthem that day. Never before have we seen so many people unite under one cause in the Sports World.
Throughout school students have learned protest is an important form of speech, and right now we are living through something truly monumental. Students around the school weighed in on their views. Most Judge students felt it was a good representation of peaceful protest, and felt since America was born on such belief, it was fine.
Bol Juang said, “Those players that are doing it set a platform and are role models that people look up to, so they have a pretty good idea of what is going on.” Since football is on such a large stage, it allows people to get here ideas across to the masses. Sophia Overfelt said, “it's great to express politics in football because everybody is entitled to an opinion everywhere.” Treyvon Sidberry, believes these players are just changing the way we protest. He claims, they are making their values known to the public, and are promoting change.
There is no doubt #TakeAKnee has taken the nation by storm. Whether you agree or disagree, it seems everybody has formed an opinion on politics entering the sports world. Colin Kaepernick has not only shaken up the NFL but has changed the views of kids in our own community. It seems #TakeAKnee is here to stay, and change brought from our peers is soon to come.