Taking A Knee

National Anthem Protests Continue to Grow

Gage Ruark, Activities Editor

What began as a protest against police brutality on Sept. 2, 2016, has became a bigger controversial topic in today’s world.

Over a year has passed since the trend of kneeling during the National Anthem started and is still being shown throughout the U.S. This trend has continued to grow as professional sport players and even celebrities have began showing their taste in protesting.

Even our president has wiggled his way into the discussion by publicly bashing the NFL and its players on social media for their actions. Along with the several individuals jumping into this, there have also been t-shirts and even a social media challenge made for this whole ordeal. However, what is said to have begun as a way of protesting police brutality against African Americans has spiralled into more than just a protest against police officers.

The issue is now revolving around race inequality and racial injustices that has been brought up from recent events. Certain situations like the police brutality was what initially began the protesting; however, now it is a protest against the statements Trump made about these individuals. The people taking part in this protesting are looking at it as a way to protest their inequality in the country.

How could you blame them? How are we going to ridicule a person in our country peacefully kneeling during the national anthem, but not even take a chance to actually look into what they are protesting. Racial inequality is something that has been around for many centuries and as much as we’d like to say it has changes, it really hasn’t changed much.

With a topic like this it can be hard for some to even try to understand both sides, however it may help if you try. Imagine being a veteran or being active in the military and see someone disrespect something that you have fought so hard for. There have been an uncountable amount of Americans that fight and risk their own lives for the flag to fly. Why, as a citizen of the United States, would you want to kneel and disrespect those who have taken on the true duty of war and that have fought for your rights as a U.S. citizen?

As a young American, I am all for peaceful protesting, although kneeling during the national anthem may seem disrespectful to some, I don’t see a problem with people protesting especially when they’re protesting inequality. Now, there is a difference between peaceful  protesting and disrespecting our country. I am all for individuals kneeling as a way to draw attention to what they are protesting, but I won’t and never will condone ways of protesting such as the burning or stomping of the flag.

As mentioned before many public figures have made their statements on the protesting, including Hall of Fame basketball players, celebrities, general managers and owners of the sporting organizations. President Trump brought to the NFL the idea of firing the players who choose to participate in the protesting. Now, firing the players could act against the first amendment; however, Dallas Cowboys General Manager Jerry Jones told his team that anyone who decides to disrespect the flag will be benched without a second thought.

The way an individual views this topic will be different depending on the way they were raised, their morals and even own personal experiences. William Shirley, a veteran of 22 years in the military and history educator at Allen, has his opinion that has been shaped by both experiences and his way of growing up.

“I grew up in the time World War ll was happening,” said Shirley. “We stood up for the national anthem, it was something I was taught at a young age and it’s what I taught my kids. Now as a history instructor, I believe and abide by the Constitution and the rights you are given as a human being, but it bothers me that an individual wouldn’t want to stand in honor of our flag.”

Like any topic that is controversial, there are many opinions. Now everyone may not agree, but you must look at it from both angles.