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The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Let’s take a knee

Taking a knee during the National Anthem at sports events has now become a form of a peaceful protest. And rightly so.

Eric Reid, a player for the 49ers, wrote an op-ed in the New York Times stating that he and Colin Kaepernick “spoke at length about many of the issues that face our community, including systemic oppression against people of color, police brutality and the criminal justice system.” This led to their choice in taking a knee last year during the National Anthem because as Reid stated, “we chose to kneel because it’s a respectful gesture.”

While Kaepernick kneeled practically alone during his peaceful protest during their preseason, NFL players are now standing, or rather kneeling, alongside their former teammate after President Trump made insulting comments towards NFL players.

This controversy may be challenging players across the National Football League, but where does this leave college football players, and even athletes all together? Should students take a stand of their own and protest peacefully alongside these NFL players?

Yes, they should.

According to KVAL News, members of the South Eugene High School girl’s soccer team kneeled before a game Tuesday night. Mercury News also featured an article on a small group of Bellarmine football players who also took a knee during a Friday night game in San Jose, California.

Marco Day, a Chico State Rugby player, personally supports the idea behind the take the knee protest. “It is the modern day bus boycott,” he said. When asked if he would take a knee during the National Anthem, he stated that “as a born American, I wouldn’t personally take a knee. I don’t consider myself a big patriot, but reciting the National Anthem is the most patriotic thing.”

Of course, President Trump ignores the fact that this issue has everything to do with people of color, and instead argues that it is about disrespecting those who have continuously fought for our country.

But as Eric Reid stated in his op-ed article mentioned earlier, “it baffles me that our protest is still being misconstrued as disrespectful to the country, flag and military personnel,” he states, “it has always been my understanding that the brave men and women who fought and died for our country did so to ensure that we could live in a fair and free society, which includes the right to speak out in protest.”

Chico State athletes should consider taking this protest locally. If an athlete’s beliefs align with those taking a knee, then they should ultimately feel free and comfortable in taking a knee as well.

It shouldn’t be seen as a form of dividing the team, but rather accepting the many students who want to protest against something they are affected by personally or just stand behind completely, and we should all allow for every individual to be able to do so.

Students now have the opportunity to take part in a peaceful protest that does not cause any physical harm to anyone.

These players are fighting for those who are voiceless when it comes to unequal access to justice for people of color, specifically African Americans, in the criminal justice system.

According to Huffingtonpost, 70 percent of African Americans make up the NFL. If you believe it is about the flag, then you’re wrong. Don’t allow for the oppressors to let the subject of race and police brutality turn into flags and patriotism.

Rachel Reyes can be reached at [email protected] or @rachhreyes on Twitter.

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    Chase Beauregard // Oct 16, 2017 at 8:00 am

    “According to Huffingtonpost, 70 percent of African Americans make up the NFL.”

    I will leave it to you to find the mistake here…