There’s a famous quote that goes, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” I want to reverse that quote and say, “If you don’t kneel for something, you’ll stand for anything.”
The recent political debate has focused on NFL (and other athletic) players who have knelt during the National Anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice. I’ve seen both support and backlash in the news, on TV, and in endless posts and pictures on Facebook.
However, this protest is about much more than the National Anthem or the American flag. It’s about equality. It’s about justice. It’s about American lives. Where is the moral character of our country when white nationalists who protest are called “fine people” by the president, yet NFL players who peacefully protest injustice are scrutinized and called unpatriotic?
The actions of Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., and Mahatma Gandhi were often viewed as improper, disrespectful, or a mere charade. Yet their peaceful protests became the cornerstones behind major societal shifts.
By taking a knee and bringing attention to a national and moral injustice, these athletes are, by kneeling, standing for what they believe in. I am thankful that these professional athletes are using their platform and positions of influence to stir political discussion on an issue that is far too often swept under the rug. They are coming together, putting their fame and reputations on the line in order to speak out against racial injustice, peacefully.
Some say this display of protest causes division between fans and the public, further polarizing and dividing our country, and others say they prefer to view sporting games for entertainment, not politics. Yet when racial injustice is so clear and so present in our country, when young black men are being brutalized and killed in our streets, perhaps we do not have the privilege to ignore it as we enjoy a ball game.
Whether in prayer or protest, maybe it’s time we all take a knee against racial injustice.