Take a Knee, Or Don't. You're American.
What does it mean for America when a biracial NFL player takes a knee during the National Anthem? Every person who plays sports and watches sports understands the symbolism of taking a knee mid game, but what happens when someone kneels pre game, during a time when most stand in respect?
I will not be sharing my opinion on Colin Kaepernick’s infamous decision to kneel during the National Anthem in protest of police brutality, however I will be discussing what it means for America.
When Kaepernick kneeled, it affected his football career and led to him losing his job. His decision divided America, with some claiming he was unpatriotic, and others celebrating his fight for equality. And then of course came, the random schmucks claiming football players should stay out of politics.
Whether you agree or disagree with Kaepernick’s decision to kneel in protest, it is one of the most American things one can do.
We’re blessed to live in a country where you can protest with the worst consequence being job loss. For those claiming Kaepernick is unpatriotic, I ask you, is it better to honestly protest or fake patriotism?
A CNN video titled, “The Secret to North Korea’s Emotional Patriotism,” explains the questionable emotional response North Koreans demonstrate when leader, Kim Jong-un, returns to the country. “Women in colorful robes, top officials, even normally stoic generals, are practically weeping at the sight of him. But analysts say what you’re witnessing isn’t spontaneous devotion but carefully choreographed fealty.”
Not only is patriotism in North Korea trained, but those who don’t participate, are punished. “If one doesn’t clap for Kim Jong-un, that person is sure to be in trouble,” says Greg Scarlatiou, a member of the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea. For the average citizen, the punishment would be jail or reeducation, but for those held to a higher standard the result is deadly. A top education official was once executed by firing squad for showing a “bad attitude” at a public assembly.
Still pissed about a knee?
The first time I took a knee, was during a fifth grade CYO basketball game. Someone on the other team was injured and every other player took a knee as the game came to a halt. We took a knee out of respect. We took a knee to symbolize to the crowd that something wasn’t quite right, but the game would go on. Just as we took a knee during CYO to tell the crowd someone was injured, Kaepernick took a knee during the National Anthem to tell the world America is injured.
Regardless of where you stand on police brutality, you’d have to be living under a rock to not see our country is wounded by an inherently racist judicial system.
Colin Kaepernick will go down in history as a Civil Rights leader whether we agree with his method of protest or not. Many people didn’t agree with Dr. King’s methods or Malcolm X’s violence, but both men have gone down as leaders. You don’t have to agree with kneeling during the National Anthem, but you should be grateful that we live in a country where you can. Our country is wounded right now, by more than just issues of race, but the game will go on and with the right leadership, this country will live up to its greatness.