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Kneel Down For Your Rights

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I want to start off by saying that I am proud to be an American. I feel incredibly lucky to be born in the place I was and have the opportunities I have. I’ve showed all the conspicuous actions of affirming my patriotism, celebrating national holidays, pledging my allegiance, and standing up for our anthem.

Recently, NFL players have been sending the opposite message. Showing they have had enough of the unjust issues surrounding America currently, several players and coaches on various teams have opted to sit down during the National Anthem. Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers was the first to display this protest, and the movement has spread like wildfire  throughout the league. There has been an immediate impact, and  brave players like Kaepernick have undergone severe ridicule.

I say good for them.

So often, it seems like sports figures and celebrities do not take advantage of their prominent status to speak out about very real issues. Americans love to point out the flaws in these individuals, condemning them for not acting like better role models. We need to realize that the American public has been given a blessing from these athletes, because they are the one doing the hard work. We can sit back and decide whether these American football players are patriotic or not.

This is a statement of patriotism to the highest degree. Our country was founded on the ideal that our citizens have the right to address issues of injustice. I believe it is fair to say that there is a lot wrong with our country right now. his is nothing new. Even in sports, this has happened before. The Black Power salute from US olympians John Carlos and Tommie Smith in the 1968 Olympics was very controversial at the time. Now, this is one of the most iconic American snapshots of the 20th century.

Throughout history, we look back on moments of protest in our country with great pride. Without our American right to be able to change the problems in society, this country would look much different.

The opposition to this current movement in the NFL would say that these players and coaches who choose to sit out the Anthem are disrespecting their country and those who fight for it. The only problem with that, though, is that our soldiers are fighting for all of our freedoms, including the right to redress wrong. Also, these brave protesters are standing up for American people who have been repeatedly disrespected. Brandon Marshall of the Denver Broncos, who has kneeled during the anthems prior to games, explained, “I’m not against the police. I’m not against the military. I’m not against America. I’m against social injustice.”

This is something special. A message sent by some of the most idolized people in  American culture can spark a change. It means that it will come with a fair share of opposition.

I say good for them. 

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The Student Publication of Denver East High School
Kneel Down For Your Rights