Taking the knee: A powerful platform or unpatriotic?

NFL protest catches president’s attention, causes controversy

by Bri Branscomb, Assistant Editor

President Donald Trump’s remarks on Friday regarding NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem have sparked both outrage and support, as many more in the league have joined their colleagues in their form of peaceful protest.

“Taking a knee during the national anthem is disrespectful to the flag and those who died to protect the country,” junior Hudson Ruen said.  “You’re supposed to stand for the national anthem. Taking the knee is refusing to acknowledge those who sacrificed.”

The protest became popularized by former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick last year, as Kaepernick cited racial inequality and police brutality as motivators behind his decision to kneel during the anthem.

“Everyone has a constitutional right to protest,” senior Ellena Martinez said. “The point is that this is a peaceful protest. [People against] proponents of this protest will often point at protests following police shootings that turn into riots and say, ‘there’s other ways to protest,’ and yet say this one isn’t acceptable. If this isn’t acceptable, then nothing is acceptable.”

If this isn’t acceptable, then nothing is acceptable.

— Ellena Martinez

Several NFL teams and ownerships have spoken out in support of their players decision to take the knee during the anthem. Some owners have even gone as far as to lock arms with their players as a show of solidarity.

“Protesting is great, but the way you protest is important,” senior Chris Gauthier said. “Protesting the national anthem is not the right way. [It’s] disrespectful to all the past and current military who fight for us. Our national anthem is to honor those who risk their lives so we can freely live here.”

#TakeTheKnee began trending on various social media platforms. Many spoke out against Trumps comments that any player not standing for the anthem should be fired, while others applauded his statement against what they view to be disrespectful and unpatriotic behavior.

“It’s an expression of free speech that shouldn’t be attacked,” senior Ryan Kerlick said. “Even if people disagree with it, it’s legal. You can’t fire someone for expressing their freedom of speech.”