Art by Tori Roberts
By JD McKay
On Sept. 24 Steelers offensive tackle, Alejandro Villanueva, stood alone at the end of the team’s tunnel to pay his respects for the national anthem and our flag.
Villanueva graduated from West Point in 2010 and became an Army Ranger, serving 20 months overseas and winning the Bronze Star. Now, he is the starting left tackle and currently has the highest selling jersey in the NFL.
This shows what the American people support. They support Villanueva’s stance to stand for the national anthem by dropping $100 for an offensive lineman jersey. There are no other offensive linemen in the top 25. On the morning of Sept. 25, he apologized to his teammates at a press conference for not protesting with his team.
Lesean McCoy is the running back for the Buffalo Bills. On the afternoon of Sept. 24th, he took a very different approach to the national anthem. He ignored the playing of the national anthem and continued his pregame stretches, even though it was clearly not the right time to stretch. Fittingly, McCoy only had 21 rushing yards against the Broncos on Sunday and 48 receiving yards with zero touchdowns.
When I first saw Colin Kaepernick take a knee, it created a wave of emotion in me. My uncle was deployed to Iraq for a one-year tour, and both my grandparents and great uncle have served in other wars. I have seen the effects of war on other people as well. Many veterans suffer from a disease called post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD causes them to lose sleep and not want to look back on their time in combat for years because of their traumatic war experiences.
President Donald Trump has seen what these veterans can deal with and is trying to encourage Americans to support them. I agree with the main idea of Trump’s statement about the NFL players kneeling during the national anthem, but calling NFL players “sons of bitches” is not right. The players have the right to do that, but protesting during the national anthem is not benefiting their cause. It is dividing the country. To really make a difference the players need to take more action.
NFL players could set up charities for families who lost family members to police officer shooting or use their influence to talk to the organizations privately that need to change. This change will take more time, more effort, and will get less media attention. Therefore, the NFL players are currently looking for the easiest way to protest and cause a social outcry, something they are doing successfully but not really making a change.
Since 1776, our country had lost 1,200,000 Americans defending our flag and the freedom it represents. Kneeling for for the national anthem is a slap to the face of the families who have lost loved ones in battle as they fought against terrorism, communism, fascism, and tyranny.
Our country stands for freedom and liberty, different from the threats we fought against. Last weekend we saw two opposite stances towards our country’s anthem, the complete disrespect shown by Lesean McCoy, and honor and respect shown by Alejandro Villanueva.
By Hannah Clere
I used to play soccer and stopped a few years ago because I realized I was terrible. However, I learned something important from that sport: when a player was injured, everyone on the field would kneel in order to show respect for the injured player until they were well enough to leave the field.
The recent National Football League (NFL) kneeling controversy has called many issues into question, one of those being disrespect to the United States of America. However, are the players not showing respect to an injured country? Just as I did in soccer, these football players do in their games to call attention to an injury they have seen.
It is undeniable that the U.S. has faced a lot of issues lately. The particular problem that is bringing the NFL players to their knees is police brutality. The events associated with this issue are not fair, but let us save that discussion for another day. For now, we will keep the focus on what the players are working to accomplish.
So now we get to the ultimate question: are these players being disrespectful?
The answer: no.
They are respecting the United States by kneeling in its time of trouble and injury. They kneel to honor their fallen country, which seems to be purest, most innocent intention a loyal citizen can have.
Now we must decide if the effort to push the movement against police brutality and race inequality was wrong. What would you do if nothing you had tried was working? What would you do if you wanted to be heard? What would you do if you did not agree with the direction in which the United States of America is going?
I would stand up for my beliefs. Not in a disrespectful way, however, which is what many are saying these players have done. Which brings up the meaning of disrespect.
Some people say that disrespect is quietly kneeling. Disrespect is when you boo during the national anthem at people exercising their rights as citizens.
Disagreeing with someone or something is not a good reason to be rude. It seems clear that the only thing the NFL players are guilty of is using their First Amendment rights, the rights fought for by our nation’s noble veterans, to get their point across to a system that has failed them.
I love the United States of America. Lately, I have not been able to agree with the brutal and tragic mistreatment of some of our country’s citizens. Because of this, I cannot disagree with the players kneeling. Just as I knelt in soccer, they have the right to kneel. Besides, absentmindedly falling in line is not fair to my country.