Take a Knee With the NFL

Here are the facts: The ‘Take-a-Knee’ movement was initiated by Colin Kaepernick. A while back, Kaepernick refused to participate in the national anthem, he then explained his decision in a press conference, "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people, and people of color, to me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street, and people getting paid leave, and getting away with murder."

Since then, Kaepernick's decision sparked a country-wide debate. 

The hashtag "#TakeTheKnee" has been trending on Twitter and has been a focal point of the debate, starring President Trump and his followers. President Trump says:

Trump seems to be notoriously reinventing the facts again. Colin Kaepernick’s original motives were to protest racism and police brutality in our country. Instead of acknowledging those very facts, Donald Trump has pitted NFL fans against NFL players by calling them unpatriotic and disrespectful. He has even created propaganda towards NFL fans to stop going to games to pressure NFL players to stop kneeling. This is an absurdity. Trump refutes to acknowledge the real reasons of the past and present that plague the black community and other oppressed groups. How can we stand with a president that is in complete denial of critical history?

To think and respond critically about this movement, it is important to acknowledge and understand the deep-seated issue of racism and police brutality in American history. From kidnapping and enslavement (1619), effects of colonizing Africa (late 1800's), to the fight for freedom in the States (1863), the fight for civil rights such as  (granted in 1965!) and the continuous struggle for equal treatment - it is undeniable that Black Americans have been marginalized and greatly suffered at the hands of white supremacy.

When NFL players kneel, they represent Jordan Russell Davis, Eric Garner, John Crawford, Michael Brown, and the many other black men that were wrongfully murdered at the hands of police brutality. When NFL players kneel they refuse to be proud of a country that has wronged them in a multitude of ways and continually oppresses them. When Trump claims that people (NFL players) should be fired for kneeling during the anthem, he completely disregards the First Amendment—the right to freedom of speech and the right to peacefully assemble.

My concern is that the Take-a-Knee movement, in part by Trump, has directed people’s eye on the issue of time and place versus the real motives of the protest. Trump has a cunning way about him that redirects our vision on the topics that don’t matter which distracts us from the real issues at hand. If partaking in a meaningful and peaceful protest that reaches thousands of viewers is not the right venue to stand up against racism and police brutality, I’m not sure what is.

[Feature Image by Pexels]