Black Excellence

Why Protesting Is Very American: Take A Knee

Within the past 24 hours, much has been said about specific sports figures silently protesting during the singing of the national anthem. This story has been in the undercurrent of many sports news media ever since Colin Kaepernick made it a point to kneel during every game as the national anthem played last season. Despite being a great quarterback, he hasn’t been signed to another team. Many think the league is blackballing him for his silent protests.

Take a knee. ✊? Swipe to read NFL teams' responses to Donald Trump.

A post shared by COMPLEX (@complex) on

 

Yesterday, the president made some insidious remarks regarding those who take part in such protests by calling them “sons of b******” and saying they should be carted off the field. This created a firestorm throughout the internet as many took to task his aggressive, offensive language. Especially in contrast to how he reacted to loud and proud white supremacists.

As a result, many more players have decided to kneel during the anthem as a sign that they will not be silenced and to bring awareness to the injustices that befall many black people in our society. Several of the Cleveland Browns, Buffalo Bills, New Orlean Saints, and countless other players across the league, chose to boldly kneel in direct response to the president’s heinous and violent comments. Various franchises released statements disagreeing with the president’s remarks as well.

RELATED: The Ubiquitous Trauma of Blackness 

Cleveland Browns vs. Indianapolis Colts

Oakland Raiders vs. Washington Redskins

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Los Angeles Chargers

 

Even a black singer who sang the anthem ended the song by kneeling, fist raised in the air. Along with the criticism of Kaepernick, the president also had some words for superstar basketball player Stephen Curry, whom Lebron James defended for saying he wouldn’t be visiting the White House. Many celebrities have responded in support of the protest in such an imperative and unwavering movement. Musical legend Stevie Wonder even said some words in support at a recent concert and took a knee in solidarity. In an unprecedented act for the major league of baseball, Bruce Maxwell, the son of an army veteran, took a knee during the anthem, being the first person in the MLB to do so.

take a knee, NFL protest, kaeperickWhat naysayers don’t understand about these courageous and strong displays of dissent is that this country was made better and improved by and through protest. During the Civil Rights era, to ensure women the right to vote, in an attempt to halt prohibition, to enforce labor laws, and in so many more historically relevant events in our society. The first amendment protects the right to say what one believes and holds true. Protest isn’t supposed to be behind closed doors; it’s not meant to appear convenient for the masses or easily ignored. It was designed to get and hold attention so that proper action is taken, those in power are held to account, and things change.

Protest is as American as the sports so many love to enjoy.

Take a Knee

Serene Hitchcock

Serene Hitchcock has been writing for several years in many forms and facets. She loves the written word and a well-executed story. She's interested in social justice, arts, health, current events and the world we live in.