Kneeling for the National Anthem- Students Discuss


Vista’s football field–grounds for kneeling?

Kilee McAtee, Staff writer/ copy editor

On August 14, 2016, Colin Kaepernick made headlines for choosing to sit out of the National Anthem. Later in the following weeks, after meeting with former Green Beret member Nate Boyer, he decided to instead take a knee with the rest of the team. Boyer writes, in an open letter to Trump, “Colin wanted to sit, I wanted him to stand, and so we found a common ground on a knee alongside his teammates.”

Regardless of any stance on the matter, it’s clear that this topic is beyond just football at this point. It has become one of the most talked about ongoing events in politics and sports news, between participating football players and even the President of the United States.  

“I don’t think it’s necessarily right to kneel for the national anthem,” said Jake Ernst, senior and president of the Conservatives Club on campus. “I think it’s disrespectful to soldiers and people who died, and I think it sets a bad role model across the board…It seems like more of a trendy thing to do. I mean, kneel all you want, but if you’re just kneeling then that’s not really doing anything productive.”

He goes on to comment about Kaepernick’s decision to protest in a different way than he had started. “I would say kneeling is a little bit more respectful than sitting down, but it’s kind of the lesser of two evils, in my opinion.”

On the other hand, some feel that the act is not disrespectful and is a good way to speak out against injustices facing different communities. “These people are public figures, and they’re people that we pay attention to, and we see as inspirations for change. So, if these people feel that the government or America are wronging them, they have the right to kneel,” said Leah Feldman, president of the Young Progressives club. “I don’t see it as disrespectful towards Trump or America, I just see it as taking a stance for something they believe, and doing it on public television is just using their platform to make change.”

The school’s official stance on the matter stands by the First Amendment. “I believe that our official stance on the topic is that students, if they so chose to, are able to express themselves in that way…I think that my preference would be that if athletes want to find a way to protest certain things, I would prefer for them to find a different avenue,” Mike Struebing, the Vista del Lago varsity football coach said. “I would like it better, if they want to do it as a group, for them to do something together to show team unity…I can’t speculate on people I don’t know, or people I haven’t had the conversation with, but within our program, athletes are allowed to express their beliefs like that if they so chose.”