Our Youth

Let Them Speak: Taking a Knee Won’t Hurt You?

By Hannah Pierre-Louis

Football players from Cretin-Derham Hall High School in St. Paul, Minn., and Totino-Grace High School in Fridley, Minn., stand at midfield for the national anthem before their game. Photo Catholic News Service/ Dave Hrbacek, The Catholic Spirit

To some, he is a symbol of change while to others, he is an extreme radical. Colin Kaepernick was a former player for the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers. He is well-known for protesting against police brutality and supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.

A few weeks after the death of Alton Sterling, Kaepernick sat on the bench during the national anthem in protest of police brutality. After receiving backlash, he discussed with others and decided to kneel as a demonstration of a peaceful protest.

When Kaepernick and another teammate named Eric Reid did this at a game, people saw this action as disrespectful.

People fail to realize that they are using their right to express themselves, which is given to us in the Bill of Rights. Eric Reid goes on to say that others don’t understand how “heartbroken I am to see the constant smears against Colin, a person who helped start the movement with only the very best of intentions.”

It has been a year since Colin Kaepernick took action. He has yet to be signed onto an NFL team. He is currently unemployed for protesting and yet there are people who see him as a “radical un-American who wants to divide our country.”

The people who supported Kaepernick knew the true meaning behind it. Those who opposed it found an excuse to bash it. They would say that it would go against everything people fought for in the armed forces. There’s some irony in this because there are veterans who support Colin and would post pictures of themselves on one knee. Even sports stars in other leagues took a knee. Bruce Maxwell became the first Major League Baseball player to showcase his support. Yet NASCAR published a statement saying that they will fire anyone who takes a knee during the National Anthem.

Controversy Continues

During the singing of the national anthem, more NFL players would either bend on one knee or link arms with each other. Even the coaches would do this with their players. Nonetheless, football fans are outraged with this protest and are not afraid to show it. On Twitter, there was a fan who burned his season tickets because he didn’t agree with the idea.

It’s mind-boggling how it took more than a year for the action to go into full effect. If our own veterans would consider taking a knee, then why can’t we take a step back and look at the situation from their perspective as well?

Hannah Pierre-Louis attends St. Joseph H.S., Downtown Brooklyn.