By Jayla Johnson
Colin Kaepernick is an African American quarterback that is currently free agent in that National Football Association that is known for taking a knee during the national anthem played prior to the start of football games. Kaepernick’s kneeling the the national anthem began during the first game of the pregame of the 2016-2017 NFL season, but he was noticed by the major sports media outlets until his third game of the NFL preseason.
When questioned by a reporter for the NFL about the reason for kneeling for the national anthem, Colin Kaepernick stated the purpose of him keeling was “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.
To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” Other participants in the NFL as well as other professional sports also felt moved by Kaepernick’s intended message and decided to join his peaceful protest.
With the new media attention Colin Kaepernick was gaining, major celebrities and well known figures have made comments about players in the NFL taking a knee.
President Trump took to his twitter account and tweeted “If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL,or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem. If not, YOU’RE FIRED. Find something else to do!”
In a speech, Mr. Trump made comments saying “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners when somebody disrespects the flag? They say, get that son of a [bleep] off the field right now–out! He’s fired.”
At the University of Georgia where football is a heavy celebrated sport at the school, a conversation began about their opinion of Kaepernick, other players that joined him, as well as what they would think if someone continued their support of the protest here at the University of Georgia, whether they were a coach, football player, or fan. Freshmen football players at UGA Tray Bishop (#12-defensive back), Walter Grant(#84-linebacker), and WIlliam Poole III (#31-defensive back). Tray Bishop said “Coach has not said anything about kneeling for the national anthem.
I don’t have certain feelings against it. It’s a free world to do what you want. As far as Trump’s comments, He is a horrible leader for saying those things about professional football players. I don’t think he represents well by saying that.” Walter Grant said “It should be a player’s choice to kneel. Everyone has their own thing. As for Trump, I feel that it wasn’t his place to talk down about people kneeling and calling them out of their name. You’re the president. You have to do better than that.”
WIlliam Poole III stated “Kneeling is a player’s personal choice. Everyone has their right to speech. It was very inappropriate for a man running out country to make those comments and doesn’t not have the right to say that about players.”
After interviewing the football players, their opinions and comments were used for interviewing students who are fans of football at UGA. Freshmen Kayla McKnight said “Players and coaches have the right to kneel for the national anthem as well as encouraging the crowd members to participate in the demonstration with them.
I would personally kneel for the national anthem at the next home game. I personally feel that President Trumps comments were inappropriate and wrong for a person of power.” Although these football players and fan seem to have aligning opinions, how do you feel about standing or kneeling for the national anthem at sporting events?