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Throughout the past year, there have been protests and arguments all over social media about whether athletes should kneel or stand during the ‘Star Spangled Banner.’ The protest is spreading around America, not only in professional sports but in high schools, too. Athletes are kneeling in protest against the flag that has been with us for generations; Americans should respect it and stand.
The controversy sparked last Sunday with President Donald Trump’s response to more than 200 NFL athletes kneeling during the National Anthem.
“The issue of kneeling has nothing to do with race. It is about respect for our Country, Flag and National Anthem,” Trump posted on Twitter Sept. 25.
Standing with the right hand covering one’s heart is how Americans have respected our soldiers on the battlefield for generations. Why should the athletes who have not been on the real field have the right to kneel?
“The flag was what gave you the right to protest in the first place, so you should not disrespect it,” sophomore Shelby Lester said.
Freedom of speech is in our Bill of Rights and is used in protests everyday. Still, associating a protest with the men and women who fight and die for us to keep that right is taking advantage of it.
“Kneeling during the national anthem is disrespectful because I know soldiers who have lost limbs and legs and cannot stand up, so I stand for them,” sophomore Luke Gordy said.
Some athletes are so afraid of the controversy that they now refuse to go on the field during the National Anthem.
“Not going on the field is the same thing as kneeling: disrespectful,” Gordy said.
Refusing to go on the field is the worst of the choices, the athlete isn’t showing any respect for their country.
“I think the players staying in the locker room are even more disrespectful, you should at least go out on the field and choose one,” Lester said.
The National Anthem is intended to unite this nation of many cultures; it describes a war that our soldiers are fighting every day for America’s freedom. Now, police brutality and injustice are being associated with it.
“People look at the flag differently because it is a symbol; when I look at the flag, I see soldiers fighting for us,” Gordy said.
The Anthem has the job of bringing America together, not of tearing it apart.
“I don’t even see Trump behind the flag; when the Anthem plays for me, I forget about politics and just think of the soldiers,” Gordy said.