Students react to athletes’ protests

As the Superbowl looms this weekend, students share their reactions to the protests during the NFL season

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Liz Wilburn, Staff Reporter

Professional athletes kneeling during the national anthem has brought up a lot of strong student feelings.

Many believe it is disrespectful to our country while others feel it is calling attention to something our country desperately needs to change.

Natalie Russell, freshman believes that the players kneeling during the anthem have lost sight of their goal and are protesting at the wrong time.

“I think it is necessary to stand for the anthem, not because you think the United States is perfect, no country is, but because you are fortunate to live in the best country in the world and also to honor all those who have died all over the world in order to make this country as good as it is today and make this a country where people can disrespect the anthem and the flag and suffer no serious repercussions,” Russell said.

Sophomore, Emily Kallal agrees with the cause and believes that players should be able to peacefully protest because of the veterans who have fought to secure that right.

“In my opinion, professional athletes who kneel or sit during the anthem have every right to do so. I was taught from a young age that our veterans fight for our freedoms and for our rights. In America we have the right to protest,” Kallal said. “These athletes are trying to draw attention to social injustices, specifically towards the African-American race, and I completely agree with them. I feel the way African-Americans are being treated in our country needs to be changed, and these athletes are using their publicity and influence to draw attention to that issue.” Kallal said.

Grace Berkhead, freshman is skeptical of the athletes’ motives and believes there’s a time and a place to protest, and during the anthem is not one of them.

“I understand why professional athletes think that kneeling during the national anthem could make a point, but I think it’s disrespectful to the country,” Berkead said. “There are other ways to protest what’s happening as opposed to kneeling, and I think the personal goal is to make a big scene and make it noticeable because they understand that there will be a big response. While this is good in some ways, it also can be perceived as disrespectful.”

Freshman, Taylor Bucklin believes that this is a better alternative than violence.

“I honestly really don’t care. An athlete kneeling during the anthem is a peaceful way to protest and get a message across. I’d rather have that than protesters attacking innocent people and lighting buildings on fire in the name of a movement. Of course some people are going to be offended by it. There is no way you could ever protest something without that happening. So as long as people aren’t getting hurt, I’m okay with it,” Bucklin said.

Senior, Evan Moran disagrees with the fact that they are willing to disrespect our flag in order to get a message across.

“I believe that it is completely disrespectful. I have a bit of a biased opinion because of my family’s military history, but I cannot stand to see athletes kneel during the anthem or disgrace the flag that brave men and women have given their lives for,” Moran said. “I know that people are doing this as a form of civil disobedience to protest the subpar treatment by law enforcement, but I see it as going too far by tarnishing our nation’s flag and not showing respect to the entire country.”

Josh Velez, sophomore, believes that this is a just cause and something that needs to be brought to the public’s attention.

“I think it is a way to not only exercise their rights, but to protest the poor treatment and profiling of African-Americans in the United States by law enforcement officers. Three hundred unarmed black people were shot,” Velez said.

Freshman, Vanessa Barlow disagrees with the athletes who kneel during the anthem in order to send a message to Trump.

“When you stand for the national anthem, you’re not doing it to pledge your allegiance to Donald Trump,” Barlow said. “You’re honoring the veterans who gave their lives for your freedom and not standing is not protesting Trump, its dishonoring the veterans who fought for our freedom.”

Mackenzie Stalfire, freshman, doesn’t agree with the way they are protesting and believes that during a football game is an inappropriate time.

Mackenzie said, “I don’t think it’s right to kneel because so many soldiers go and risk their lives for them to be able to play those sports and make millions while the soldiers don’t make much if any. It’s not right and very disrespectful to our country and those away from their families and homes just to protect us. I think the reason they do it or what I’ve heard is that they are protesting racist issues and discrimination against people in America. I don’t think that should be brought into the national anthem or anything, and if you have a problem don’t take it out on the field.”