Why NFL players should kneel for the National Anthem

By Nathan Ramirez

According to a national database, 802 people have been shot and killed by police this year.  In 2015, 99% of police violence cases did not resulted in any officer involved being convicted of a crime.  Systemic oppression against people of color, police brutality and the criminal justice system, are all issues that have the National Football League (NFL) players kneeling in unity. I support the fact that NFL players should be able to kneel during the National Anthem and I trust fully that they have good intentions in doing so. They intend to create awareness of current situations going on in America and hopefully spark change. President Donald Trump’s statement regarding the issue, “Get that son of a bitch off the field,” shocked me.  I never would have thought that those words would come out of our president’s mouth in reference to his citizens peacefully exercising their freedom of speech. The way I view the hidden meaning in the kneeling is to signify that America is “injured.” Typically when an athlete is injured while playing, players will take a knee out of respect – to me, that is what they are doing for America. Very few, but some, will go down on both knees, which I see as a form of praying for a better America.  Another way the players are creating awareness of the current events is by locking arms in unity while still standing, which I also agree with.  Anyone that believes that these athletes are disrespecting anything related to America simply does not understand what these players are protesting against. I do not believe that they are disrespecting the flag, the military or the country, but rather they are utilizing their greatest right as an American and that should never be threat against their well-being or a cause for ridicule. George Washington once said, “If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”