• Winter Wishes are back! Stop by the table at lunch from November 27th to December 1st.

  • Seusical the Musical was last week

  • Wrestling finishes off its first week strong

Opposing Viewpoints: to kneel or not to kneel

Grace Cooper, Editor-In-Chief

In light of the recent controversy surrounding NFL players choosing to kneel during the national anthem as a sign of protest, BHS students have joined the discussion to express their opinions on whether or not players should be allowed to kneel, or if it is disrespectful to do so.

Senior Drew Villaca believes that kneeling is within the rights of the players to protest, and that there is nothing wrong with the players using this medium to voice their ideas. Sophomore Riley Mersmann disagrees, arguing that although Americans have the right to peaceful protest, it disrespectful for the players to be kneeling during the anthem.

Drew Villaca:

The NFL protests are more than just a couple of “entitled athletes” trying to disrespect the country that “they should be grateful” towards. I feel I need to say this because, unfortunately, this is what many people seem to think. There’s just so much wrong with thinking that, however. First of all, famous people have just as much right to voice their opinion as everyone else, we should know this, because we literally elected a famous person. But whenever an actor, artist, or now, athlete, voices their opinion in opposition with the president, they shouldn’t be allowed to. They have a much larger platform to voice those opinions than the rest of do, and the president wanting to silence them is essentially state censorship, which is basically one of the exact things that we have the first amendment to prevent, but more on that later. This entire protest, however, isn’t even about President Trump, it’s about people with a voice raising awareness about police brutality.

We stand during the national anthem to show pride in our country, but how can you expect everyone to have pride when half of the country is actively trying to oppress the other half? Whether or not you realize it, stating that these NFL players (the majority of them being black) shouldn’t be allowed to protest is a form of oppression. They have the right to protest, and they happen to be doing it in an extremely peaceful and effective way. I’ve heard people say that they should be “grateful” for all that they have, but that makes no sense. Grateful to whom? Those athletes worked just as hard to get where they are as anyone else, probably more.

The go-to argument for people against the protests is that they are “disrespecting the flag and their country,” however, even if each one of them is disrespecting the flag, that is completely legal. We have this thing called the first amendment, and it’s the reason I’m allowed to write this in the first place. It’s also the reason that these athletes have the right to protest. They happen to be doing it in a very peaceful way, with a very just cause. Brave people fought and died for our country, rights like freedom of speech and freedom to peaceful protest, and the unalienable rights that this country assures to us (which, if you need a reminder, are “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness). That’s all these athletes want, is for those unalienable rights to be just as much of a right to everyone else in this country as they are to white people. Sometimes you can’t fix a nation’s problem with laws and policy, it needs to start with the people. If we want people of color to feel as much pride in our country as everyone else, then everyone needs to love and treat them with as much respect and equality as they deserve. And if that sounds seems wrong to you, then you’re the problem, not the athletes who are trying to make their country better by voicing their opinion.

Riley Mersmann:

Recently, there has been a lot of controversy with the NFL and a few of their players kneeling during the playing of the National Anthem. Supposedly, they are trying to use this as a way to protest against racial inequality in the United States. This clearly was both a surprise and was not well received by the public.

I personally think that every American has the right to peacefully protest against something that they see as unfair, immoral or wrongful. And I am not saying that they aren’t protesting against something that isn’t wrong, because I completely agree that racial inequality is wrong and it has no place in our country. But directly disrespecting our country’s flag in front of everyone during the national anthem is not right time or place to do your protesting.

If you are going to try to protest anything in general, it should be on your own time. People do not play football and go to watch football games to protest, they do it to watch football. You are wasting both your own and everyone else’s time that they are trying to use to watch football. I think that Colin Kaepernick and everyone else need to find a better and more convenient time and place to do their protests, because the way they’re going about it as of right now is just disrespectful, selfish, and unnecessary.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email