Taking a Knee


Colin Kaepernick takes a knee during the national anthem. Photo courtesy Sports Illustrated.

Tara Bogavelli '20

Why do we stand for the Star Spangled Banner? Out of respect.

That is the commonly given answer; yet it is vague; respect for whom and for what? The flag, the Constitution, veterans? Everyone has a different reason.

I do not believe that just because someone stands means they are doing it out of respect for the veterans. So it cannot be assumed that someone choosing not to stand in order to protest an issue that affects millions of people in this country is automatically an act of disrespect.

Colin Kaepernick did not want to show pride “in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” That is his opinion, and he has the right to express that per the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, the very thing that people stand for during the anthem. When thinking of America we think of freedom, specifically freedom of speech, because that is who we are: people who embrace new ideas and accept everyone’s right to have them.

Kaepernick said he did not want to show pride in the flag, not that he intended to disrespect it. In my opinion, Trump disrespected the First Amendment, one of the pillars of liberty in this country, far more than Kaepernick. In his tweet on September 23rd, Trump said that “If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NF, or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect…our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem. If not, YOU’RE FIRED. Find something else to do!” Calling for penalties against someone for using their right, no matter how disgusted one may be, is just as disrespectful as the protesting itself might be considered. This, on the part of the president, is dangerous, and sets a disturbing precedent for Americans.