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Emma Rice

Mrs. Muñoz-Matheny

English 9, Period 4

8 December 2017

Taking a Knee, Making a Stand

Across the nation NFL football teams are making headlines, except it has nothing to do

with their performance on the field. These teams are drawing attention to themselves by

kneeling, instead of standing, during the pre-game national anthem to protest the current

treatment of African Americans in America. There have been mixed reactions to this movement

with people saying that it is disrespectful to the flag and what it stands for, while others disagree

and support the teams. Though some families and veterans are finding it offensive that football

players are not standing for the national anthem, it is appropriate to kneel during the playing of

the national anthem to protest the treatment of African Americans in the U.S. This is because

America was built on the founding of freedom of speech and assembly, it is a peaceful way to

bring awareness to injustice and police brutality, and kneeling is not intended to offend army

veterans or other citizens.

The first reason why kneeling is appropriate during the national anthem, is that

Americans have the right to freedom of speech and assembly. When America was becoming its

own country, the founders wrote a document called the Constitution which has 27 amendments.

The First Amendment states, “ Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of

religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the

press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a

redress of grievances” (US Const. amend.Ⅰ). This amendment states that it is within the law and
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citizen rights to protest and peacefully assemble. So since the First Amendment says that

Americans have the right to freedom of speech and assembly, it is appropriate for football

players to protest before games during the national anthem.

The second reason why kneeling is appropriate during the national anthem is because it is

a peaceful way to bring awareness to injustice and police brutality. When players take a knee its

purpose is to bring awareness to the injustice and police brutality in America, and by doing so

they are peacefully expressing their thoughts. Eric Reid shared his experience discussing the

issue with Colin Kaepernick, former NFL player who started the controversy, and said, “ we

came to the conclusion that we should kneel, rather than sit, the next day during the national

anthem as a peaceful protest” (Reid). This shows that the kneeling is a way to protest in a

peaceful manner. This conclusion comes after talking to Nate Boyer, who is a retired Green

Beret and former NFL player. Eric Reid also explains, “ We chose to kneel because it’s a

respectful gesture” (Reid). This also shows that kneeling is, in the football players eyes, a

respectful way that they can speak their minds. Therefore having a peaceful protest during the

national anthem is appropriate, and it also brings a lot of needed attention to an important issue.

The third reason why kneeling during the national anthem is appropriate is that it is not

supposed to offend army veterans or families. While some people see these protests as

disrespecting to army veterans or other Americans, that is not the intention. Anquan Boldin,

former forty-niners wide receiver, says, “ We feel it is our responsibility to take a stand against

the injustices we see” (Rohan and Klemko). The real reason that these players are kneeling is to

bring awareness to Americans of the injustices and problems in their country at the moment. Josh

Hafner says, “ This is the opposite of an insult to those who died thinking they were fighting for

liberty” (Hafner). This quote explains that the reasons for football players kneeling is not to
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offend army veterans, but to more or less continue fighting for freedom in a peaceful way.

Therefore these protests are not aimed to offend army veterans or families.

On the other hand there are valid points on each side of this debate, for example the time

and place for these protests. Karen Vaughn, a Gold Star Mother, gives an insight of how she felt

about this issue by saying, “ it is misplaced frustration and anger” (Fox News). Many people

believe that football games are the wrong place and time for protesting with Joseph Curl saying,

“ You can have everything else, politics, just leave us Sunday afternoon” (Curl). While some

people may feel that this protesting is “misplaced” or the wrong time, the whole reason that these

players are kneeling would never have received so much attention if it was done anywhere else.

This is an issue that needs a lot of attention, because it can only get worse if everyone ignores it.

The opposing side does have fair points about this conflict, but people still have to look at the

bigger picture and how the future will be greatly affected if they do not act now.

In conclusion, it is appropriate for football players to kneel during the national anthem

because it is a peaceful way to protest, Americans have the right to freedom of speech and

protest, and kneeling is not aimed to offend army veterans and families. Whether people agree

with these football teams protesting or not, it really has caught everybody's attention and brought

more awareness to this serious issue. By kneeling these football players are silently and verbally

speaking up about what they believe people need to focus on fixing in America, so it truly can be

united and everyone can have freedom. As Anquan Boldin said, “ The only way to make change

and win is together” (Rohan and Klemko).

Work Cited Page


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Curl, Joseph. “NFL Ruins Football Sunday.” Daily Wire, The Daily Wire, 24

Sept. 2017, www.dailywire.com/news/21440/nfl-ruins-football-sunday-joseph-

curl#.

FoxBusinessNetwork. “NFL Players Disrespected the Flag by Kneeling, Says

Gold Star Mother.” YouTube, YouTube, 28 Sept. 2017,

www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDGjZyC_7NE.

Hafner, Josh. “Anthem Kneeling Isn't Aimed at Veterans, and Other NFL Protest

Misconceptions.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 25 Sept.

2017, www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/09/25/anthem-kneeling-

isnt-aimed-veterans-and-other-nfl-protest-misconceptions/701409001/.

Reid, Eric. “Eric Reid: Why Colin Kaepernick and I Decided to Take a Knee.”

The New York Times, The New York Times, 25 Sept. 2017,

www.nytimes.com/2017/09/25/opinion/colin-kaepernick-football-protests.html.

Rohan, Tim, and Robert Klemko. “Malcolm Jenkins and Anquan Boldin Explain

The Meaning Behind The Anthem Protests.” SI.com, 5 Sept. 2017,

www.si.com/nfl/2017/09/05/themmqb-meaning-behind-anthem-protests-

malcolm-jenkins-anquan-boldin-nfl-racial-inequality.

U.S. Constitution. Art./Amend. I.


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