NFL players ‘taking a knee’

Protests not new

I’m not sure if unemployed NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick knew what he was starting when he decided to not stand during the national anthem, but it sparked a protest that has spread throughout professional sports.

Protesting during the U.S. anthem is not new. Think 1968 Olympics with Tommie Smith and John Carlos. It has happened during the First and Second World Wars, as a protest of the war in Vietnam and throughout the ‘60s. In basketball, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf refused to stand in 1996 because he felt the anthem conflicted with his Muslim faith. In 2004, Toronto Blue Jays player Carlos Delgado sat during “God Bless America” to protest the war in the Middle East. In 2016, The Tenors member Remigio Pereira changed the lyrics of the Canadian national anthem to support “all lives matter.”

In sport-related instances, the players were chastised for their actions. Right or wrong, they are in the history books, and surely this protest will be too, due to its size. But where has the conversation turned?

It has steered away from its original purpose of racial discrimination and police brutality.

It’s now a stand off – or a kneel off – between professional sports and Donald Trump, with no end in sight. What now?

Stand up for those who have given their lives to make the U.S. a free country and for those lost in the pursuit of equality. Stand up, help move the U.S. progressively forward and do something tangible.

– Olivia


Peaceful protest

International news often seems to be dominated by U.S. President Donald Trump and his outrageous statements. One of his most recent encouraged NFL owners to fire any players who knelt during the national anthem.

Yes, the national anthem should be given the utmost respect.

But what about when the players are protesting the very thing for which the national anthem represents? Many of the NFL players who chose to kneel during the national anthem did so because they said the country lacked equality and freedom and they just couldn’t show their support and pride.  

Shouldn’t we instead be applauding these sporting idols and role models for proving that there is a peaceful way to protest and stand up for your beliefs while still catching the eye of a nation and starting a conversation?

In a world where protests often become violent and innocent people looking to exercise free speech are caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, these NFL players offered an alternative.

They’re not chatting, causing a ruckus or encouraging fans to follow their beliefs when they kneel. They’re not turning their back on the flag or refusing the anthem. They are quietly showing that they don’t agree with the way things are going in their country and that they’re looking for change.

That’s admirable.

The conversation even made it to Wellington County. Looks like mission accomplished.

– Jaime

Olivia Rutt and Jaime Myslik