Taking a Knee: For our Injured Society
The Superbowl may be over, but looking back on the NFL season it’s not the wins, losses, or highlight reel that we will remember the 2017 season for- it was the protests, the dramatic action, and the seemingly ongoing feud with our nation’s president. We will remember those who didn’t stand for the national anthem this year and those who took a knee.
Let’s look back and remember how this protest started. Taking a knee originated during the 2016 preseason with then San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick. He was protesting what he believed was unfair treatment against African Americans in the United States with police brutality/shootings taking place in Ferguson, MO and Dallas, TX. Kaepernick originally didn’t kneel for the anthem, he sat. He began to kneel after meeting with Green Beret Nate Boyer. Kaepernick and Boyer both felt that taking a knee was still showing his dissatisfaction of police brutality while showing respect for servicemen and women.
Prior to the 2017 season Kaepernick’s contract was expired and no teams wanting hire the former Super Bowl QB. His talents and skills on the field were commonly regarded as being good enough to make a team, but his loud and proud political stance was not welcome.
This caught the attention of players across the country. Players from every team began and continued to kneel for the national anthem week in and week out. Some did it to support the same causes Kaepernick knelt for, others did it purely to protest Kaepernick’s black-balling in the league.
When a player in a game receives a severe injury all of them other players take a knee to show their respect and well wishes for that player and his recovery. During that moment when a man is on the ground unconscious one could hear a pin drop in an arena seating more than 85,000 people. Now it is exactly the same way during the pregame performance of The Star Spangled Banner. Not a word is spoken and many drop to a knee for fallen America.
The debate is a common one of whether team owners should have the ability to fire or release an athlete because of their political stance. None have been released yet, but many have lost endorsement deals and Pres. Donald Trump is calling for them all to be fired (maybe he just misses Celebrity Apprentice) .
“Everyone knows what they are doing it’s what they stand for,” said Yankees closer Mariano Rivera at a benefit in New Rochelle supporting hurricane relief. “I believe they have respect, I never said they don’t have respect, I do respect the flag and if I were in a position where I needed to demonstrate something I would have my ways to do it. That’s what they are showing, that’s what they are doing, it is their responsibility.”
Colin Kaepernick, a man who did not play a single down in the NFL this season, was awarded by Sports Illustrated as the Sportsmen of the Year, now known as the Muhammed Ali Legacy Award.
“With or Without the NFL’s platform, I will continue to work for the people,” Kaepernick said in his acceptance speech. “My platform is the people.”
– by Ben Levine 18.