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To Stand Or To Kneel, That Is The Question

Joslynn Monroig, Student Life Editor

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It is the nations current debate; to stand or to kneel at football games/sporting events during the national anthem. As it stands currently, we are a nation divided.

Members of the San Francisco 49ers kneel during the national anthem as others stand during the first half of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Oct. 1, 2017, in Glendale, Arizona.

The San Francisco 49ers divided while the National Anthem plays.

Even though this topic is widely talked about, some still don’t know what the stand versus kneel debate is about, or what it even means. This debate started all over whether NFL Players should stand or kneel during the national anthem. Players were taking a knee to protest against police brutality, racial injustice, and to shed more light on the issue considering it is a huge issue in our society.

President Trump has made his stance known on this topic by taking to Twitter as he usually does, but also during press conferences. He believes that the players should be standing during the national anthem and he has a few reasons to back up his argument. One of Trump’s main reasons that players should stand is because he believes that the kneeling protests are unpatriotic and disrespectful to the flag as well as to those who have fought in war to protect the United States and

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One of Trump’s many tweets on his opinion about this debate.

United States citizens. He has also tweeted that “Sports fans should never condone players that do not stand proud for their National Anthem or their Country. NFL should change policy!” But Trump’s most iconic quotes from his press conference on this debate is “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners when somebody disrespects our flag to say, ‘Get that son of a b**** off the field right now. Out. He’s fired!'”

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Washington Redskins split on the stand or kneel debate while the National Anthem plays.

The NFL on the other hand has a different view on the situation. The players and their defenders argue that the players  are exercising the first amendment right and their ability to use freedom of speech by not participating in the anthem on their feet with their hands over their hearts, but instead kneeling on the ground with their heads tilted down. The player’s intentions are not to disrespect the flag, nor the veterans that have fought for our flag, but to bring police brutality to the surface because they believe that it is often swept under the rug.

Trump’s point that he has pushed the most is that it is disrespectful to veterans; The Tomahawk decided to interview a veteran to get his opinion on the topic, as well as the opinion of two Chippewa Valley students.

Ryan Ribant-Merritt is a United States Veteran. He spent seven years in the United States Marines Corp, and was Image result for veterans and the flagdeployed to Falluja, Iraq for seven months in 2006.  Being a veteran, Merritt has a very strong opinion on this issue. “I respect the freedom that we get to choose what we would like to do in this country, however, I believe kneeling for the national anthem is slap in the face to the military who risk their lives for that flag. I believe it separates and divides us more than it unites us. I think protesting in this way is wrong.” said Merritt. When people  kneel for the anthem, Merritt feels very angry and disrespected, reasonably so.

Jeremy Baehr is a Chippewa Valley Senior and agrees with Trump and the part of the nation that believes that the players should stand during the National Anthem. He believes that “the flag is a symbol of unity for our union and kneeling before the flag in protest does not show respect to those who have fought  to give us the right to stand for the flag.” When asked how he feels when people kneel, he says he feels angry. “Those who kneel for the flag don’t understand the importance it has.” States Baehr. He is very passionate about this topic with incredibly strong opinions.

Amir Sandens-Tillman is also a Chippewa Valley senior who disagrees with Trump, and he thinks that the players should be allowed to kneel if they choose. “It’s not a law or required for us to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, the National Anthem should be treated the same way.” When asked how he feels when people stand, Tillman said.” It doesn’t really matter to me, you’re allowed to stand if you want, and you’re also allowed to protest.”

My thoughts on the issue are this, stand if you want to stand, kneel if you want to kneel, no need to hate on people that have a different opinion than you. It is disrespectful to vets when people don’t acknowledge the anthem at all, they ignore it, talk during the anthem and so on. Just be respectful, appreciate what the the song means for Americans and be prideful of our country.

No matter what you do with your body while the National Anthem is played, be quiet, respect and treasure what the song stands for.

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To Stand Or To Kneel, That Is The Question