The easy way to put it: you shouldn’t. While this may be an unpopular view, it seems to be the best response to anyone who wishes to assert their first amendment right and take a knee. Why is it such a big deal, you may ask, but to answer it you would have to go back to the beginning.
Colin Kaepernick is the San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback who originally sat during the national anthem and later continued his quiet protest by kneeling at future events to protest police brutality and racial inequality in a way that he believed made the most sense. He was quoted in an interview with NFL Media as saying “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”
Since then, more and more NFL players, including whole teams with their owners, have taken to these silent protests and are ridiculed for their decisions leading to our own President, Donald Trump, to attack these NFL players and call for their immediate dismissal from the sport.
Donald Trump’s outrage inspired more players and whole teams to also take a knee during the national anthem in order to protest not only police brutality and racial inequality, but as Von Miller, outside linebacker for the Denver Broncos said, “We felt like President Trump’s speech was an assault on our most cherished right, freedom of speech.”
But why are we, as a country, up in arms over this? The answer is simple, we need to be up in arms about something and it’s easy to get fired up over something that is different. These players are not hurting anyone, nor are they forcing someone to do something that they don’t want, they are publically protesting something they believe in.
These players should have the ability to kneel if they prefer as long as they continue to do so peacefully. Just as you should never ridicule a person for their religious beliefs as long as they are not forcing their ideals on others, we should not judge these players for theirs.
Instead of the insane focus on the player’s actions, we should take a moment to stop and think of why they are doing it in the first place: inequality, free speech, police brutality. These are what we should be up in arms about, not someone politely taking a knee.