High school athletes kneel for anthem

Oakland Raiders players kneel on the sideline. This is an example of what high school students are taking inspiration to kneel from. Photo courtesy of Keith Allison / Wikimedia Commons.

By Luis De La Torre and Ben Ramirez

Over the past year, amateur and professional athletes peacefully protesting injustice in America by kneeling during the national anthem has sparked a heated national debate on American race-relations as well as patriotism.

The protest started with former San Francisco 49er’s quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the anthem in August 2016, sending shockwaves throughout the sports world. The protest has evolved to the point where President Trump expressed his dissatisfaction, saying any player that kneels should be fired, but in the process irresponsibly calling those players, who are almost all African Americans, S.O.B’s.

The actions of the professional players have inspired high school athletes across the country to kneel during the anthem at games. There have been demonstrations have occurred at schools including Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks and South Eugene High School in Oregon, among others.

Students are looking to do the same as their professional counterparts: instigate a serious conversation racial injustice through sports.

“I have seen my teammates kneeling during the anthem and they have good reasons for protesting. We are a brotherhood, so we all support them in their beliefs and decision to kneel,” junior Carlos Guevara said.

These demonstrations have prompted superintendents and school principals to explicitly set a school stance on the issue. Many of these positions include benching or even kicking players off the team. Other schools, such as Notre Dame, have said they are against it and that there are other ways to protest, but that the matter will be handled inhouse by the football team staff.

There have been kneeling demonstrations at our school so far this school year, although the school has not publicly taken a stance. Football coach Walter Roby expressed to his players that as long as their reasoning is justified, they are encouraged to do what they feel is necessary.

“We as a football team spent portions of three days discussing the pros and cons of kneeling. The end result emphasized our willingness to accept the individual’s decision to stand or kneel,” Roby said.

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