Point/Counterpoint: Kneeling for National Anthem

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Imagine standing in your driveway, being forcefully interrogated by armed officers. You reach for your cell phone, unclear of the situation and desperately attempting to reach out to someone for help. The police feel threatened and unaware that you are unarmed, they decide to shoot; five times to be exact.

Days later, they drop your charges for attempted murder, due to a miscommunicated assumption between the officers and their department.

Your life was over before you even got the chance to defend it.

Seems unfair? This is what unarmed, 23-year-old Keith Childress encountered on December 31, 2015, as well as the millions of black citizens that deal with racial injustice throughout their community almost every day.

Kneeling for the National Anthem is an outlet for social media stars, actors, celebrities, civilians, or more commonly, professional athletes, to display their protest of police brutality and racial injustice to the public.

Recently, Nike created an ad featuring Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers quarterback, as their spokesman. This initiated some intense backlash against the company, with non-supporters destroying their Nike apparel in consumer protest.

However, the remaining followers of Nike defended Kaepernick and believed he transformed his personal views on police violence and inequality in the black community into a worldwide movement.

By kneeling during the National Anthem, Kaepernick used his celebrity status to draw attention towards his cause, which steadily began a communal protest throughout America. Because he is a professional athlete, he has a broad platform of viewers and fans to display his civil rebellion upon.

“Standing up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color should not be encouraged,” Kaepernick stated in a NFL Media interview.

Kneeling is a civil protest that doesn’t affect the community in a forceful or dominant manner; it simply kickstarts conversation amongst the nation and raises awareness for an important issue.

“I truly respect our players wanting to speak out and change their cause or rebellion. We don’t live in a perfect society. We want them to use that voice,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodwell said in an interview with USA Today.

Not standing for the National Anthem is a legal form of protest, which is a First Amendment right. Instead of causing riots or other unjust forms of chaotic rebellion, kneeling is a peaceful way of displaying your movement or cause.

Speaking out freely on personal beliefs is supported by the First Amendment, which prevents Congress from making any law that prohibits freedom of speech or the right to peacefully assemble in protest.

“People have the right to take a knee. This movement is so sensitive, we have to be respectable of their rights,” principal Dan Serrano said.

Kaepernick has created a national movement by kneeling in civil objection towards the racial injustice and police brutality in America. He not only displays his beliefs in a composed manner, but he is also seen as a representative for everyone who supports his cause.

Kneeling for the National Anthem is much more than just an attention grabbing protest; it helps raise awareness and builds a safer community for those affected by police brutality and racial inequality.

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