#TakeAKnee Or Take A Stand – It’s Your Right

Arianna Carlos, Opinion Writer

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Over the last couple of months, there has been controversy over how to protest as an American.

There has been vigorous debate about how to respect our American Flag.

Last year, during the 2016 NFL season, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick chose to kneel during the national anthem. This season, multiple NFL players also have taken a knee.

The point of these professional athletes has been to peacefully protect racial injustice as evidenced through police brutality and police treatment of African Americans and other minorities. Although Kaepernick is out of the NFL, he is seen as the leader of the “Taking a Knee” movement which told hold on social media – #TakeAKnee – last weekend. It is an expression that recently received fierce criticism from a leading personality in social media: President Donald Trump.

President Trump tweeted out his opposition to against athletes protesting anything during the national anthem at a sporting event.

First, the president said, “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 […] If not, YOU’RE FIRED. Find something else to do.”

Those tweeted words ignited a larger clash between partisan politics and our sports past times that pitted the president against players in three different professional leagues: the National Football League (NFL), the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Major League Baseball (MLB).

While President Trump is entitled to his opinion – that’s the point of freedom of speech – we, the people, are entitled to our opinion too. We have the right to peacefully protest in America.

People who oppose kneeling during the national anthem say it’s disrespectful to American values.

But wouldn’t the act of taking someone rights – especially through a loss of life –  also be against American values?  

Some critics believe that Trump may have been targeting certain races. He later said, that it had nothing to do with race, it’s just about respecting the flag and national anthem.

Over the weekend, many others in the NFL have joined Kaepernick. 

Then the protest spread to other America professional sports.

Oakland Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell kneeled before the start of an A’s game, becoming the first person in Major League Baseball to kneel during the national anthem.

Even Robert Kraft, a Trump supporter and the owner of the New England Patriots, said he supported his players right to protest.

Before last Sunday’s NFL matchups, two-time MVP of the Golden State Warriors Stephen Curry weighed aloud where he wanted to visit a White House that is home to a combative and controversial president. Curry had previously visited the White House during a prior presidential administration. Visits usually are made by the championship teams in professional leagues.

President Trump wasn’t interested in gaining Curry’s favor.

Last Saturday morning, Trump tweeted, “Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team. Stephen Curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn!”

Curry told reporters that he felt Trump doesn’t “respect the majority of Americans in the country.”

NBA superstar and Warriors nemesis LeBron James tweeted that Trump was “a bum.”

Warriors General Manager Bob Myers said he was puzzled that invitation of the Golden State Warriors had been revoked. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said he was disappointed that the Warriors won’t get to visit the White House this year.

Myers believe that visiting the White House is celebratory and that the Golden State Warriors wanted to show how they feel and what they represent.

These events triggered by President Trump seem to be about more than the American flag.

I believe it is against American values to take away someone’s right to peacefully protest.

No matter what President Trump says tweets, kneeling during the national anthem doesn’t mean you are disrespecting America, the American flag or the national anthem. All it means is that you are making a statement, which you have the right to do as an American.

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