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?
Yes, athletes should kneel as a legitimate form of protest
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 do not deserve unequivocal support.
Taking a knee is a powerful form of protest
When athletes take a knee right before a game, the action will be broadcasted to thousands of Americans around the country. This is an excellent opportunity for athletes to use their platform for good and use a small but profound action to inspire anger and change for the better.
The ability to protest is a first amendment right these athletes are entitled to
It is guaranteed by the first amendment that all Americans have the right to protest whatever issue they want. Athletes are just normal people who have these rights as well, and kneeling is just a legitimate exercise of their constitutional rights.
A country that has never shown minorities respect does not deserve their respect
Minorities have never been treated fairly by the government meant to protect them. The American flag might represent safety and prosperity for white Americans, but it has represented suffering and discrimination for Americans of color. Such a flag and country do not deserve their respect.
No, athletes should not kneel because it is disrespectful and rude
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.
Kneeling is disrespectful to the people who have fought and died for the country
America might not be perfect, but that is not the fault of the soldiers that the flag and the anthem are meant to commemorate. Kneeling protests against the wrong people.
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.