The Colin Kaepernick national anthem protest has reached Montgomery County.
During the NFL preseason, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback refused to stand during the playing of the national anthem.
Instead, Kaepernick decided to take a knee to protest racial inequality in our society.
Last Friday night at Gaithersburg High School, the Watkins Mill football team knelt during the national anthem to show support for Kaepernick’s protest against racial injustice in American society.
Although the Wolverines did not win the game, the young men should be commended for taking a stand (no pun intended) in something they believed in.
As American citizens, we all have the right to exorcise free speech and that’s exactly what the student-athletes from Watkins Mill did.
“We decided to kneel during the national anthem because at Watkins Mill we have to overcome a lot of things that if you don’t attend the school you wouldn’t know about,” said Wolverines’ junior quarterback Markel Grant, “and also what’s going on in the world with black lives matter, we just wanted people to know that we don’t get treated the same as everybody else and we used our right to not stand during the national anthem.”
I’m told that the student-athletes have received threats for their decision to exercise their right to free speech.
“It’s disheartening,” a Watkins Mill parent told me, “because 1) these are kids 2) because most people are making the assumption that they are doing this just to be doing it. They know why they took that knee and it’s crazy how these adults are trying to personally attack the boys.”
Meanwhile, a local product made a statement on the NFL gridiron in support of Kaepernick.
Former All-Sentinel Player of the Year and Montgomery County native Jelani Jenkins was among a group of four Miami Dolphins players who knelt during the national anthem in Sunday’s season opener against the Seattle Seahawks.
The protest by Jenkins, a Good Counsel graduate, and his Dolphins teammates came on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
There are two sides to the argument about standing or not standing for the national anthem.
Many folks believe that not standing for the national anthem shows a lack of respect for the men and women who fought and gave their lives for our country.
However, as American citizens, we all have a right to free speech and should not be criticized for exercising our first amendment rights under the United States Constitution.
“If you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything,” wrote one of my friends on Facebook. “More athletes and entertainers need to take a stand. They have the platform to do so…so use it.”
You can contact Brandy at: firstname.lastname@example.org.