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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?

No, athletes should not kneel because it is disrespectful and rude Show more Show less

Aside from kneeling being incredibly disrespectful to all the veterans and security officers who have sacrificed to make the country better, the sports field is also not the right place or situation to stage a protest.
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Kneeling does not promote equality

Kneeling only makes people mad and divided over the issue of minority rights. The idea of respecting veterans and the country is so deeply ingrained into American culture that it would be quite hard for audiences to look past the blatant show of disrespect to the deeper message behind the knee.
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The Argument

The problem with taking a knee is that it has proved to spark more controversy than the actual issue of police brutality while simultaneously drawing attention away from the actual issue at hand. Instead of discussing ways to stop police violence, or the extent to which police violence existed in America, the #TakeAKnee hashtag on Twitter consisted almost entirely of people arguing back and forth over whether or not it was justified for Kaepernick to take a knee. The time, effort, and energy could have been much better spent on the issue itself, instead of someone’s controversial method of protest, and in this way taking a knee has harmed the equality movement more than it has helped. Additionally, it has also divided the sport of football itself. After Kaepernick took a knee, the police union in Santa Clara refused to provide security for the 49ers’ games, causing potential danger to the fans and the other players on Kaepernick’s team.[1] Angry fans who believed that Kaepernick had been selfish and disrespectful burned their Jerseys and stopped following the 49ers because of Kaepernick’s actions. Before he is an activist, Kaepernick is an athlete. It is his responsibility to make sure that his teams can play games properly and that his fans are happy with his performance.[2] To kneel in front of the flag on national television in a sports arena was irresponsible.

Counter arguments

It is fine for taking the knee to be controversial. The very fact that #TakeAKnee trended probably meant that many people clicked into it and took the time to research why Kaepernick took the knee. Even if they cared about the disrespect more than they cared about the issue itself, they were at least reminded of the issue of police violence. All of this is significant coverage and attention on police violence. This also doesn’t count all of the people who, inspired by Kaepernick, repeated his actions of taking a knee during the Black Lives Matter protests after George Floyd’s death in 2020.[3] Additionally, athletes are not just athletes. They are humans as well. Just as athletes are allowed to smile, cry, and express emotion even when playing on the field, they should be allowed to care about things. The fact that police officers boycotted games simply because someone pointed out their brutality only demonstrates how much change is needed in the country.

Proponents

Premises

[P1] Taking a knee distracted attention away from the issue of police brutality. [P2] Kaepernick shouldn't have taken a knee because it was his job as an athlete to play sports, not to be an activist at work.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] The controversy generated by taking a knee also drew attention to police violence and inspired other protestors. [Rejecting P2] Athletes are humans too.

References

  1. https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/sep/03/police-union-boycott-49ers-games-kaepernick-protest#:~:text=The%20union%20for%20police%20officers,his%20statements%20about%20law%20enforcement.
  2. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2016/08/28/colin-kaepernick-protest-has-49ers-fans-burning-their-jerseys/
  3. https://www.usatoday.com/picture-gallery/news/nation/2020/06/02/police-take-knee-solidarity-george-floyd-protesters/5316495002/
This page was last edited on Monday, 26 Oct 2020 at 01:38 UTC

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