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Students React to NFL Players Kneeling Controversy

Channai Williams, Editor In Chief

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Some stood. Others kneeled with locked arms. Those who stayed in the locker room did not acknowledge what others consider the song of freedom.

It’s no secret that kneeling during the National Anthem has become a popular way to protest what is going on in the United States. The gesture has become widely common since quarterback Colin Kaepernick, then a member of the San Francisco 49ers, began kneeling in protest of police violence against unarmed young black men.

Kaepernick opened himself to a lot of scrutiny when kneeled during the song before a football game in August 2016.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said, via NFL.com.

It didn’t stop with him. Other NFL players, including James Walker, Kenny Stills, Michael Thomas, Arian Foster and Jelani Jenkins, joined the protest.

On Sep. 25, President Trump released tweets saying that football players who kneel during the national anthem should be suspended or fired by the owners of their respective teams. Those words set off an even more widespread occurrence of players kneeling.

The kneeling protest has spread from professional football to high school level football. High schools all across the country have started to join this protest.

Now, students at our school have weighed in to give their views about this protest and what it stands for.

“As a football player, I’m neutral” Senior Bryan Valdez said. “Yes, there has been injustice with equality lately, and I honestly think not standing for the national anthem is a waste of time because it won’t stop inequality. It won’t stop the injustice. It only makes people mad and just brings shame.”

Valdez acknowledged that everyone has the right to free speech, but he sees it as important to show appreciation and gratitude to individuals who fought for the same right.

“Overall, taking a knee doesn’t bring any change. It just causes an uproar,” he said.

During Friday’s home game against Dr. Phillips, seniors Marcus Taylor and Darvion “Pinky” Bailey kneeled during the National Anthem. Their coach stood near them.

 

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The student news site of Oak Ridge High School
Students React to NFL Players Kneeling Controversy