Kneeling during the National Anthem: Justified or not?

Dalyn Munoz, Staff writer

It’s Friday, August 26, and the San Francisco 49ers are set to play the Green Bay Packers in their third preseason game. Minutes before the game starts, the “Star Spangled Banner” plays throughout the stadium, a tradition that began during World War II. Fans, coaches and players alike all get up to honor the flag. While the song plays, one player, fans notice, is sitting down. This player is the 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick.

With Kaepernick’s decision came a major backlash, with not only fans of the 49ers, but fans of other NFL teams as well. “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” said Kaepernick.

The Santa Clara Police Department found it very disrespectful, and they even threatened to boycott the 49ers games, leaving the stadium with no security. Throughout social media, fellow athletes and celebrities voiced their opinions on the whole ordeal, and videos began to surface of NFL fans burning Kaepernick’s jersey.

However, as the weeks went by, the killings of African Americans by police didn’t stall as incidents in Tulsa, Okla., and Charlotte, N.C., received major attention all over the news. With no stop of the violence, many have joined Kaepernick in his protest, from other professional athletes and college athletes, to high school athletes and youth teams.

“To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder,” said Kaepernick.

Vista senior Nnamdi Nwakobi plays guard for the varsity football team and is seen as a leader for other players. “I would be disappointed because there are a lot of people who do things for this country to make it free, and this is our  way of giving back to our veterans. So I would tell the player to stand up,” said Nwakobi. “People are putting their lives on the line for us to be free and you’re just going to rebel against it? Like, I understand that the country isn’t perfect right now, but there can be other ways to protest.”

Junior Thomas Fancher plays defensive end and tackle for the varsity football team, and the National Anthem protests hits closer to home with him and his family. “My grandfather served in World War II, so I feel like I’m obligated, and I’m also an American citizen. It’s not just my grandfather that’s served, but many others, so I feel when people take a knee during the National Anthem, it really just angers me because our country is worth more,” said Fancher.

Many fans have said they will not continue to watch the NFL if players sitting or kneeling aren’t punished.

“I would continue to support the NFL, just not those players because I consider them horrible people, being honest,” said Fancher.

With the regular season starting soon, players of the NFL and other organizations are still protesting and say they will continue to do until the bloodshed and violence are stopped. They are using all the media attention to get their message heard and provide support for those who have  endured the shootings.