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National Anthem Divides Country

The controversy continues.

Matt Helgeson, staff writer

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In 2016 during a preseason game, Colin Kaepernick, the quarterback for the San Fransisco 49’ers, took a knee during the national anthem in protest against police brutality and racial injustice towards black people and people of color.

This act of protest has escalated immensely, evolving from just taking a knee during the national anthem to not even participating in it to staying in the locker rooms or just staying off field.

The reason that these players have made the National Anthem a political statement could be summed up in what Colin Kaepernick said in a post-game interview: “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

According to a report given by mappingpoliceviolence.org, police killed at least 309 black people in the U.S. during  year’s time. This statistic does not specify why they were killed. In 2016, over 200 players in the NFL alone showed some form of protest against our flag, but it is not only the NFL players who are showing defiance against racial injustice; on September 5, 2016, Megan Rapinoe of the U.S. women’s national soccer team knelt durning the national anthem at one of their games. Reports of college and high school players seen protesting like this at their own sporting events have even popped up. Often these protests are met with racial slurs and cursing.

This trend has gotten so large that even our president Donald Trump has spoken about it. He is highly apposed to this protest, and he only sees it as people disrespecting our nation and not as a protest. Trump has said that he wishes to see the protestors fired or suspended from their team for the season. “In my opinion, the NFL has to change or their business is going to go to hell,” he said.

Trump has given his opinion about this issue, and yet he continues to stay involved when he really has no influence over the players or the people who agree or disagree with them. President Trump words have met with protests but he continues giving his strong opinion against these protests.

Not all professional athletes are going with this protest though. Former Army Ranger Alejandro Villanueva, an offensive tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers, recently stood against his team by taking the field with his hand over his heart in respect for the flag, our country, and our national anthem. The rest of his team stood in the tunnel and waited for the anthem to end. He is worried that he may have put his team and coaches in a position where it seemed that they were against him for his choice to show pride in his country, but he says this is not the case. He says that his teammates are very patriotic. “I made Coach Tomlin look bad, and that is my fault and my fault only. I made my teammates look bad, and that is my fault. . . . for anybody who thinks that Coach Tomlin is not as patriotic as you can get in America . . . I’m offended by that. I will support all my teammates, and all my teammates and all my coaches have always supported me.”

The whole ordeal about this national anthem business has become a touchy subject. What do you think?

 

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The student news site of Star Valley High School
National Anthem Divides Country