Appropriate!

Dylan Vanek, Front and Back Page Editor

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In the National Football League (NFL), there has been an increase in players kneeling during the national anthem to protest recent events involving police brutality and racism towards African-American people. Colin Kaepernick, who is an NFL free agent, was the first person to kneel during the national anthem on September 1, 2016 during an NFL preseason game.

The movement has recently escalated during the 2017 NFL season with over 180 players taking the knee during week three of the NFL season, according to CBS Sports. Many people have spoken out against the movement, including President Donald Trump. However, it is completely justified for players to kneel during the national anthem because of the injustice in our country.

“I’m not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said in an interview with the NFL’s reporter, Steve Wyche, referring to cases of police brutality that appear in the news.

Interestingly enough, the Guardian states, “People who are African-American/Black are twice as likely to be killed by a police officer while being unarmed compared to a Caucasian/White individual.”

According to the Huffington Post, 70 percent of players in the NFL are African American, which is one of the reasons that they are protesting the national anthem. In recent years police brutality against African-American men has drastically increased, which has induced many peaceful protests, including kneeling for the national anthem. It is effective for heroes of the sport to kneel for the national anthem on live television because it is a great way to bring awareness to the issue they are protesting.

There are many people who think that the players are disrespecting the country by kneeling.

Carole Isham, the great-great-great-granddaughter of the person who wrote the national anthem said in an interview with USA Today, “It just blows my mind that somebody like [Kaepernick] would do what he does to dishonor the flag of this country and the national anthem when we have young men and women overseas fighting for this country.”

Although this is a valid counterargument to Kaepernick’s decision to protest police brutality, it does not address the issue Kaepernick is fighting for. By kneeling during the national anthem, the players are not protesting the flag; instead, they are protesting police brutality. The players are unable to support the United States at this time because of racism expressed toward African-American males by law enforcement.

A recent statistic found by Vox Media, an American news website, says that “42% of African-American/Black individuals who were killed by police during their arrest were not attacking when they were killed.”

This statistic expresses the severity of police brutality in America.

The decision to kneel for the national anthem is understandable considering the recent cases and statistics of police brutality in the United States. The players are not protesting the flag of the United States. They are just unable to support a country that continues to promote racist ideals. NFL players should have the choice to stand or sit for the national anthem. The players are doing nothing wrong, they are peacefully protesting, and the constitution prevents anyone from stopping them.