Black men make up more than half of employed professional athletes. Although we have seen some of them at their worst, they are the most watched celebrities when it comes to American sports and entertainment. Well-known athletes Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid began to kneel during the National Anthem, protesting the treatment from law enforcement of African Americans in the United States in 2016. Kaepernick took a blow to his career but the idea is catching on a year later. Donald Trump has taken it upon himself to nit-pick the National Football League by making statements, wanting team owners to let go of players who do not respect the Anthem. However, he completely disregards why they are kneeling in the first place.
Looking at the Big Picture
Some would say it is unfitting for a president to use some of the terminology that Trump has used to address the athletes, but by using his interesting personality to highlight the faults he sees in the NFL, he has lit a fire in more players and owners to unite for a cause. Although this support comes behind the insulting words of Trump, let’s remember the true reason behind the kneeling and locked arms. Let’s remember that within the last few years names like Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray, Philando Castile, along with many others, have been killed by law enforcement. Institutional racism has taken the place of overt racism and there needs to be a solution to this problem.
However, the solution is simple. It’s something small- something noticeable, but memorable. It’s something that would gain attention from the public. Someone had to take it upon themselves to use that platform. With that being said, those who could’ve made the greatest impact did so by peacefully responding to Trump by lighting a match and sparking conversation.
Mind Over Matter
Big results come from small reactions. One of the most historic examples would be Rosa Parks. Her response of not getting up from her seat in a bus was simple, but revolutionary. It sparked a movement that led to the desegregation of the bus system. It was probably uncomfortable for Mrs. Parks, but her slow clap gave others the courage to begin to clap with her.
Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid are no different. Taking a knee may be uncomfortable, while attracting crazy looks from others, but eventually someone else is going to come along and kneel with you. This gives attention where it is needed, so that the conversation can begin. It’s simple as one person creating a ripple effect for others to find the courage to continue the wave.
History will demand to know which side were you on. This is not a question of politics or party or even policy. This is a question about the very fundamentals of our beautiful experiment in a
pluralistic democracy ruled by law.
So, my question is what will you kneel for?
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