Kneeling in Sports


In recent years, kneeling has become a form of protest for athletes across the country

Vincent Shockley, Reporter

Since 2016 there has been controversy over the national anthem being played before the beginning of sports games. 


 Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem in protest against the mistreatment of African Americans. Many kneeled along with him, but many fought against him. He had nationwide impact throughout all sports. Overall, the general population (as well as many NFL fans and team owners) disagreed with Kaepernick and he ultimately ended up out of the league and kneeling seemed to die down. 


Fast forward to the 2020-2021 season and a lot has changed. Unlike the first wave of kneeling, this time those who knelt were part of the majority. After the movements such as Black Lives Matter throughout the summer, all sports leagues played some tribute. For some, entire teams wouldn’t leave the locker room whilst it played.  


Many have argued that celebrities and athletes shouldn’t have the right to kneel or not attend the national anthem and I disagree. It doesn’t matter what your profession is, everybody has a right to free speech. Those who feel that it is necessary to voice their opinion on a topic they hold dear to themselves deserve that. 


Some believe that the kneeling is direct disrespect to our country and the soldiers who passed serving it but that is not the reason for kneeling. Many of those who kneel love America and want to fight for change within their community. They believe that the country can still improve and be better for all. These intentions have been backed by many of the same players who kneeled donating to black communities, colleges, or any other reason they kneel for the flag. 


The idea of athletes involvement in the overall political field has been judged by some. Lebron James has always been vocal on his political beliefs and support for kneeling during the national anthem. In response to Lebron’s takes on politics in sports, Zlatan Ibrahimovic (a renowned Swedish-born soccer player who spent time with the MLS’s LA Galaxy) said for Lebron to “Stick to sports“. Lebron and many other U.S. based stars disagreed with the infamous soccer player and said that they were allowed to have a voice


Overall, I believe that no matter what the circumstance, your belief, or your economic status, you always have the right to speak out for what matters to you.