Taking a knee: high school athletes join the protest
On August 26, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick remained seated during the singing of the national anthem prior to a Green Bay Packers game.
Kaepernick and safety Eric Reid knelt during the singing of the national anthem before the team’s September 1 preseason game against the San Diego Chargers.
Seattle Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane sat on the bench during the playing of the anthem before the team’s game against the Oakland Raiders.
These professional football players — and others — have sought to bring attention to social inequality and the deaths of minority men at the hands of America’s police.
High school teams across the country are also taking a knee, many to community criticism.
“The highest court in the land ruled long ago, and it’s been upheld time after time, that students do not leave their free speech rights at the schoolhouse gate,” said Bob Farrace, director of public affairs for the National Association of Secondary School Principals. He noted that the Supreme Court ruled in 1969 that public school students in Iowa could wear black armbands to silently protest the Vietnam War.
Jeremi Duru, professor of sports law at American University in Washington, D.C., comments on the movement:
“Throughout the nation, athletes on different levels are finding their voice and recognizing that they have a platform,” he said. “We haven’t seen this level of athlete activism in nearly half a century. This is a movement.”
As seen through Twitter
— Holden Kurwicki (@WHAS11Holden) September 9, 2016
— AKA (@dawood3032) September 11, 2016
— Claude Cooper (@dcmadness202) September 10, 2016
— WPGC 95.5 (@WPGC) September 17, 2016
coaches and players take a knee during anthemhttps://t.co/dzKQh3PmU6
— Anthony Oliveira (@meakoopa) September 17, 2016
The State Roster
Non-professional athletes — collegiate, high school, and prep — in 20 states and the District of Columbia have joined Kaepernick’s consciousness-raising.
See the list at WiredPen.
White friends, if your immediate response to the shooting of Terence Crutcher is to try and justify why he’s dead, instead of asking why he was shot next to his disabled vehicle by those charged with as protecting and serving him, you may be the problem here. If you aren’t greatly burdened with grief for his family and you aren’t moved with compassion for the way scenes like this repeatedly kick people of color in the gut, you need to ask yourself some difficult questions about your own patriotism, your own appreciation of freedom, your own civic responsibility.