Letter: In Defense of Taking a Knee



“Our lives begin and end the day we become silent about the things that matter.” –Martin Luther King Jr.

This is why NFL players taking a knee during the National Anthem is so important. Social change occurs when the haves become a voice for the have-nots.

When brave athletes of the NFL are willing to place their reputations and their livelihoods on the line to be a voice for their brothers who don’t have the same social status, they are doing, in my opinion, one of the most American things they could do.

Trump accuses protesting players of being unpatriotic; of disrespecting the flag and military. But our flag is not just about the military. It represents all that America is and stands for. It represents “liberty and justice for all” and the right and duty to protest when liberty and justice is being denied. This right is what our service men fight and die for. So taking a knee actually honors our military.

Michael Brown’s death on Aug. 9, 2014 focused the nation on the disproportionate death of young black men at the hands of law enforcement. Statistically, young African American males are killed by cops almost five times more often than whites.

Donald Trump becomes an irate tweeter every time his children simply get bad press. I wonder what he would do if his young son was subjected to police mistreatment the way black teens are?

What could be more respectful and more patriotic than to silently go down on one knee to call attention to this inequality. Instead of condemning them, our president should praise them for presenting a dignified and noble example of activism.

Critics say NFL players should take their protests elsewhere; that it doesn’t belong on the football field. What they are really saying is: your protest makes me uncomfortable. Take it somewhere where out of my sight and hearing so I can ignore it.

That is why it is vitally important that athletes continue to take a knee. Only when the haves are willing to be a voice for the have-nots will America see equality under the flag we all love so much.


Jessica deStefano, Laguna Beach


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