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
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.
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 a good 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 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.
A country that has never shown minorities respect does not deserve respect back from them
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 nothing but suffering and discrimination for Americans of color. Such a flag and such a country does not deserve their respect.
Sports are meant to be a form of unity and division. 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 only makes people mad and divided over the issue of minority rights. The idea of respecting veterans and respecting the country is something 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.