Recently, former starting quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers Colin Kaepernick sat during the national anthem rather than standing for it. His reason? “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick explained in an interview.
Kaepernick’s actions have quickly spread throughout the league and the country. A handful of teammates and players from almost every other team have gradually come to support his cause. Eric Reid, Kaepernick’s teammate knelt with him during a preseason game. Other NFL stars have been seen holding up their fists in the air, kneeling, sitting, or linking arms during the anthem.
The reactions to this new-found trend have varied from thankful praise to unabashed apathy to uncomfortable anger. Many fans held up signs during one of his most recent games in reading ‘Thank you, Kaepernick’. He was also seen taking selfies with fans and signing jerseys as well as photos after the 49ers played the Chargers in a preseason game.
The National Anthem has been around since 1814. Around the time of World War II, it became common practice for the anthem to be played during the opening ceremonies of sporting events. The anthem is symbolic of the sacrifices military personnel have made to defend the honor and freedom of our country. The correlation to the issues of the questioning of racially charged police brutality and the national anthem are not easily defined. However, the athletes have clearly been successful in using the anthem to make an effective statement in capturing the attention of the country to reexamine the anthem and civil rights issues.
The issue stirred by prominent athletes has also reached the halls of HHS. The pledge is played to start morning announcements every day. The policy for students’ conduct during the anthem and announcements varies from teacher to teacher. Generally, it is expected that students are respectful of the intercom presence. Math teacher, Karl Lippa shared some of his input.
“I think as long as a person doesn’t cause a scene, you should be allowed to do what you want.”
Marketing teacher and DECA sponsor, Jeff Fogg, also had a few things to say on the subject.
“I myself stand for the pledge of allegiance, for the star spangled banner, because I have family members who served in Vietnam, in World War II, actually all the way to the Revolutionary War. That being said, to make someone else stand during the pledge of allegiance is un-american.”
Just as professional athletes are given the choice to stand or sit, students are left to their own devices. Whatever the reason may be, be it laziness at the call to stand, or a statement for a social and political campaign, the implications that accompany not standing for the pledge are still being deciphered and absorbed by the nation and the world.