Perspectives: Kneeling for National Anthem shows disrespect toward America

Perspectives: Kneeling for National Anthem shows disrespect toward America

AJ Forbes, Sports Editor

For a different perspective on this topic, read this piece by Bex Rangel.


Patriotism is defined as the emotional attachment to a nation and to what that nation stands for. There is nothing that more symbolizes the United States of America than our national anthem and our flag. Disrespecting these national symbols of pride not only insults the country as a whole, but also the men and women who have decided to lay their lives on the line for the well-being of the United States. This is exactly what San Francisco 49er’s quarterback Colin Kaepernick and numerous other professional athletes have done since August.

On August 26, a photo of Kaepernick sitting on the bench during the national anthem was released on Twitter. He responded to the criticism of the photo by citing police brutality and the oppression of people of color as the reason for protesting the anthem.

People don’t realize what’s really going on in this country,” Kaepernick said in an interview with “There are a lot things that are going on that are unjust. People aren’t being held accountable for.”

Other athletes who have joined Kaepernick in his protest of the national anthem include teammate and safety Eric Reid, Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, and Miami Dolphins running back Arian Foster.

This phenomenon is not secluded to the realm of professional sports. Local athletes who have decided to join the protest include Lincoln Southeast wide receiver Sterling Smith, who decided to kneel during the national anthem before the Knights’ game on September 9. Smith’s teammate, Michael Baklykov, also knelt beside him.

“Oppression and the unfair treatment of colored people have plagued this country for too long and is disregarded too often,” Smith said in a Twitter post. “For this reason I choose to kneel with Kaepernick, not in disregard for the soldiers and veterans of this country, but to exercise my constitutional right in defiance to a corrupt government in order to stand for something much bigger.”

The issue with citing the First Amendment as a reason to kneel during the national anthem is that it doesn’t minimize the disrespect towards the American flag and everything it represents. It’s like beginning a verbal insult with “No offense, but…”; the fact that you say “no offense” doesn’t make the insult less offensive.

Players who have knelt during the national anthem also knelt during the National Football League’s opening Sunday on 9/11. On a day where players should be doing their part to honor those who died on that fateful day, they continued to kneel in protest.

Additionally, kneeling during the national anthem is just plain ineffective. What part of kneeling during the national anthem at a professional football game is going to change police brutality in the United States? If anything, this form of protest brings more individual attention than bringing light to what they are trying to bring attention to.

These individuals who have decided that not standing for the national anthem is going to revolutionize the way police brutality is handled in the United States need to come up with a different solution.

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin and the rest of his team have taken a step in the right direction. Instead of protesting by kneeling during the national anthem, the Seahawks players (white, black, and mixed) linked arms with each other during “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

“Progress can and will be made only if we stand together,” Baldwin said in a video posted to Instagram.

The playing of the national anthem and the presentation of the American flag is not a stage for individuals or groups to protest social injustices. It is a time for citizens of the United States to take pride in their country and honor the men and women who have sacrificed so much for the country they love.