Is Taking a Knee Really that Bad?


Madilyn Palosi, Guest Writer

Now that football season has begun, a question on many people’s minds is, “Is anyone going to be taking a knee this year?” Well, I can give you an example of how some athletes are feeling. On Thursday, September 10, 2020, the Houston Texans hosted the Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL’s opening game. This game started like no other: many players from the Texans stayed in the locker room during the National Anthem while fans booed them. When the anthem ended, all the players from both teams came to midfield and linked arms while taking a moment of silence

Many fans were outraged and yelled, or booed, the entire time. 

In the past, athletes never did anything before a game or during a game to make a statement about racial injustice. However, that all changed in September of 2016, when Colin Kaepernick, a professional football player for the San Francisco 49ers, knelt during the National Anthem. When asked about his reasoning, he said that it wasn’t to disrespect any military personnel, but to raise awareness of the police brutality and racial injustices that were occurring in America. 


Many people, including President Donald Trump, were deeply offended by Kaepernick’s gesture and claimed that he was protesting the American Flag and the National Anthem. Although his gesture sparked national outrage, it also raised awareness for racial injustice and many more people started speaking out and defending Kaepernick. One of these people was the NBA hall-of-famer, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He was quoted talking to the Washington Post, saying, “What should horrify Americans is not Kaepernick’s choice to remain seated during the national anthem, but that nearly 50 years after Ali was banned from boxing for his stance and Tommie Smith and John Carlos’s raised fists caused public ostracization and numerous death threats, we still need to call attention to the same racial inequities. Failure to fix this problem is what’s really un-American here.” 


Another person that stood up for Kaepernick’s right to kneel was President Barack Obama. He addressed the controversy at the G20 Summit in China on Labor Day. He said Kaepernick cares about real issues that have to be discussed and, “if nothing else, he’s generated more conversation around topics that have to be talked about.” A lot of people were getting so angry at Kaepernick and the people that backed him because they believed they were disrespecting the flag and the people that served our country. 


As proud Americans, we need to realize that we all have a very powerful voice that people will listen to. We need to take a stand for what we believe in, just as Kaepernick did. And even though this was a huge controversy, the bottom line is that we all have our freedom of speech and we could use it any way we want. 


It’s up to us to use it effectively and use it to speak to people about the problems in our society. Kaepernick showed us what our voices can accomplish. He showed us that even when there were millions of people against him, he only needed a few people to stand with him to defeat them. With everything that is going on right now, it is our turn to rise against injustice and not be afraid to show our true colors.