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Should athletes kneel during the national anthem? Show more Show less
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In 2016, the San Francisco 49ers' quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, first took a knee during the national anthem playing before his teams' first preseason games. Since then, many other athletes have also taken a knee in protest against police violence and brutality in America. What exactly does this protest mean? Is it disrespectful to the country and the sport, or is it a legitimate form of protest against a country that has never treated its minorities fairly?

Kneeling is a legitimate form of protest Show more Show less

America has never been fair to people of color. Athletes aren't just celebrities, they are ordinary citizens who face discrimination as well. It is perfectly legitimate for them to take a knee and protest every injustice in their lives because a country and an anthem that has not earn its respect does not deserve unequivocal support.
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The ability to protest is a first amendment right these athletes are entitled to

It is guaranteed by the first amendment that all Americans must have the right to protest whatever issue they want to. Athletes are just normal people who have these rights as well, and kneeling is just a legitimate exercise of their right to free speech.

The Argument

The first amendment guarantees the right of any individual to the freedom of speech and to peaceably petition the government for a redress of grievances.[1] Regardless of whether or not Kaepernick’s viewpoint is right or whether his actions are actually helping the movement itself, the right to kneel in the middle of the pre-game anthem is a right that he must be entitled to. Just like anyone else in society, athletes are humans and citizens as well, therefore their right to talk about anything they want at any time they want should be guaranteed. This right exists because America since its founding has believed that individuals always understand the circumstances of their life the best and that any complaint an individual has about their problems should be taken as legitimate. If Kaepernick wants to kneel and believes that racism is a problem that threatens him and those who he cares about and certain audience members have seen his actions and decide that they agree with him, it is fully within all of their rights to do so.[2]

Counter arguments

Having the right to do something doesn’t make that action the correct thing to do. No one challenges the fact that Kaepernick had a right to kneel, this debate is meant to be about whether or not his kneeling was justified or effective. This argument doesn’t actually show that athletes should be kneeling. Additionally, just as Kaepernick has a right to free speech, the NFL and the football team that he plays on also have an equal right to choose not to sign on players that they deem unhelpful for their team. The right to hire at will is an internal company matter that has been guaranteed to companies themselves according to American law. Therefore, even though it was legitimate for Kaepernick to speak out, it was also legitimate for the San Fransisco 49ers to choose not to sign him on for another season.[3]

Proponents

Premises

[P1] Kneeling is within every citizen's constitutional right to free speech and protest

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] Having a right to do something doesn't make that action correct [Rejecting P2] It is also the right of a company to not want to hire someone

References

  1. https://www.constituteproject.org/constitution/United_States_of_America_1992
  2. https://edition.cnn.com/2016/09/05/politics/barack-obama-colin-kaepernick/index.html
  3. https://www.fff.org/explore-freedom/article/right-hire-fire/

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This page was last edited on Saturday, 17 Oct 2020 at 05:33 UTC

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