Faculty, students weigh in on athletes kneeling during national anthem

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San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, middle, kneels during the national anthem before the team's NFL preseason football game against the San Diego Chargers, Sept. 1 in San Diego. Multimedia Accuplacer/AP

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, middle, kneels during the national anthem before the team’s NFL preseason football game against the San Diego Chargers, Sept. 1 in San Diego.  AccuNet/AP

Individuals interviews split on whether protest is the best way to get message out.

By Sasha D Robinson


San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has the right to kneel during playing of the national anthem, but he should stand as a sign of respect, the kinesiology program coordinator, a facilities manager and three students agree.

Two students interviewed agree with the quarterback’s actions because he is bringing awareness to the public of injustice they believe exists in the treatment of African-Americans by law enforcement.

Kaepernick decided to sit during the Aug. 14 preseason game against the Houston Texans, but it gained national attention when NFL media reporter Steve Wyche broke the story Aug. 27.

Someone provided a video to Wyche, which showed Kaepernick sitting down during the anthem on Aug. 26 before a game against the Green Bay Packers.

On NFL kickoff weekend Sept. 8-12, he and teammate Eric Reid kneeled before the national anthem. Players on other teams also have kneeled or stood with raised fists for the national anthem.

Kinesiology Program Coordinator Brad Dudney said he does not agree with the protest, but because of the freedoms available in this country, people have the right to protest in any manner they chose.

“That is the advantage of us to where we live. If you lived in China and you went and did something like that, you would be killed. They have been killed. Here in the United States, we can do that,” Dudney said.

Linda Casas, facility manager Candler Physical Education Center, said she agrees with Dudney.

However, she would not change the way she would look at a student if the student protested or demonstrate the national anthem.

“It wouldn’t change. My opinion would not change towards a student,” Casas said.

Criminal justice sophomore Rosco Parsons explained that it is freedom of speech, but he thinks players kneeling show a sign of disrespect.

“It is for people that served our country,” he said. “They are fighting for it no matter what is going on with it. I understand the government is corrupt. We should still give them that respect. Without them no telling what would happen.”

Kinesiology sophomore Chris Rodriguez agrees that players have freedom of speech.

“You do have your freedom of speech, but I have seen pictures of people kneeling down in front of Marines,” Rodriguez said. “Players like kneeling down in front of Marines and other military people. They are not fighting for our country. They do not know what they have been through. But they should at least give them the respect to stand in front of them, or during the national anthem.

Parsons thinks people should get involved in changing laws.

“I feel like you should be involved in politics if you want to make an impact,” he said. “I mean you can go out an protest and rally but at the end of the day they are the ones that make the laws.”

Criminal justice sophomore Steven Walters and liberal arts freshman Alizea White sees it different.

“Most people take it wrong because they take it as they are being disrespectful to the military,” Walters said. “Kaepernick’s whole point was how it is an injustice … not talking about the military but twisting it toward the military,” Walters said

“They are not burning the flag. They are kneeling to it. They are trying to be heard because what we feel is wrong,” White said.

Kaepernick said in a statement Aug. 28:

“I have great respect for men and woman that have fought for this country. I have family. I have friends that have gone and fought for this country. They fight for freedom. They fight for the people.

“They fight for liberty and justice for everyone. And that’s not happening. People are dying in vain because this country isn’t holding their end of the bargain, and as far as, you know, giving freedom and justice and liberty to everybody.”


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