To Kneel or Not to Kneel

That is the Debate


CC Keith Allison from Hanover, MD

Some members of the San Francisco 49ers kneel during the National Anthem before a game against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field on October 15, 2017 in Landover, Maryland.

Quincy Jackson, Staff Writer

The 2018-2019 NFL season is once again in the middle of “to kneel or not to kneel” controversy. Most recently, a cheerleader for the 49ers stirred the pot when she become the first cheerleader of the season to kneel during the national anthem. According to the New York Post, cheerleader Kayla Morris took a knee to protest police brutality and racism.

In my opinion, protests against police brutality and racism are necessary in today’s society. However, you can raise awareness and protest a cause without being seen as disrespectful towards those who fought for our freedoms.

Kneeling during the national anthem shows disrespect towards veterans and to the flag they fought to fly. After 49ers Colin Kaepernick started the kneeling protest in 2016, Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera told the Black and Blue Review, “My view is the anthem is about honoring the people that served and made the commitment to our country, some who even made the ultimate sacrifice. When I stand, that’s what I’m standing for. I’m standing for the people that came before my father and the people that came after him.” Ron, like myself, strongly disagreed with Kaepernick’s decision to kneel, which ultimately cost him his career. 

Instead of taking a knee, there are more proactive ways to protest police brutality and racism that don’t bring disrespect towards our veterans and flag. Thomas Hauser, contributor to the Huffingpost Post, expressed in his article, “Instead of Kneeling: Slowdown, Don’t Play, Vote,” how taking a knee has raised awareness, but does so at offense to people who we should be honoring. Hauser recommended players take the field late or refuse to play a game. He stated that if a group of players or team decide on this together, they have a far less chance of facing consequences by their league. He aligns this with Muhammad Ali, who gave up the heavyweight championship of the world title to protest being drafted in the Vietnam War.

So, stand up for what you believe in and stand up for what is wrong in the world. However, be aware of how you do it; you can raise awareness and protest a cause without being seen as disrespectful towards those who fought for our freedoms.