Kneeling for anthem is a student right




Over the past two weeks, people have been in an uproar about President Donald Trump’s comments about NFL players kneeling during the national anthem. All this talk about players kneeling during the anthem, which started last year when former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started kneeling to bring awareness to racial inequality and poked its head again this weekend, has induced endless controversy.

Our school is very patriotic. Before every sports game and rally we play the national anthem and every day during second period we stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. I know that there are people, including students, who don’t stand for either, or may choose not to in the future. Nonetheless, they are protected to do so. It does not matter if they are high schoolers or professional players players – it’s their right to protest in any way, including sitting during the national anthem.

My dad was a marine who was wounded while serving in Iraq, so I have always been taught to stand during the national anthem and I will continue to throughout my life. To me the flag stands for freedom and all the men and women that have died to keep our freedom. However, that is what the flag means to me, not everyone else. I may not like it when people do not stand, but it is still their freedom, something others would do well to remember in the coming games.

We are a school of diversity with students holding countless different beliefs. If players or students refuse to stand here, people need to learn to accept that, no matter if they view the subject differently. While I understand that can be difficult – I, on impulse, feel it is disrespectful to my dad and many others who have served to refuse to stand – our diversity is what makes our school unique, and that diversity necessitates tolerance.

However, if you are going to protest, at least do it quietly. Sit, stand, but do not talk during the national anthem. That’s more disrespectful that kneeling because you prevent the people who want to stand from being able to honor their country.

Just as everyone has the right to sit, it is also my right and everyone else’s to disagree with them if they wish. Accepting other people’s beliefs is a two-way street, and both sides need to participate for it to run properly.

Should there be another way people can protest? Yes. Is there any other way I can think of that they can protest so they will be heard? Other than refusing to play if they are a player, no. So people are going to the most extreme way they can to be heard. And until there is another way for them to protest without kneeling during the national anthem, no one should attack them for their choice.

I can agree or I can disagree with them. They can kneel. They can stand. It is our constitutional right to be on either side of the spectrum, and everyone at the school needs to respect that.

Sports is a platform that many use to heal or forget about something, if only for three hours. When I go to the football games on Friday nights, I don’t go there to talk about politics and argue with people. I’m there to spend time with friends and have a fun experience, and many other students do as well.

It brings us together, something very few things can do. It’s special in that way. And if we start to argue over people kneeling during the anthem it takes away that special factor, leaving contempt in its place.