Taking a Knee: A Global Stance

More stories from Becca Malachowski

Syracuse Winter Fair
February 1, 2019

You’ve probably seen #TakeAKnee all over the internet, newspaper, and television. But what does it mean and how did it start? Taking a knee may have only started fairly recently, but it’s made a lasting impact on not only sports, but our entire society.

The first instance of taking a knee during the National Anthem was started a little over a year ago by NFL player Colin Kaepernick, who later inspired other players to kneel during the anthem as well. Kaepernick stated that deep rooted issues influenced his decision to kneel. He stated that he began kneeling to fight the racial injustice and police brutality that he believes are widespread across the country. Kaepernick told interviewers, “I am not going to stand and show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color” (thesun.co.uk). Kaepernick and other football players were instantly met with scrutiny and praise from all classes, including the President. President Trump disapproved and posted negative comments on Twitter stating that if players won’t stand for the anthem then they should be fired. Although teams face opposition, the ‘take a knee’ movement has not been limited to football players and other athletes. Other groups and professions have answered the call. Scientists at a STEM research lab have begun taking pictures of their co-workers taking a knee and posting them to social media. They state that they want to show that racial injustice is everywhere including the science lab (salon.com).

Other members of the entertainment industry have spoken out as well. Many celebrities support the movement including Zendaya, who posted “Take the Knee. Solidarity.” Ellen DeGeneres posted “… Nothing is more American that the right to peacefully protest” (revelist.com). Stevie Wonder made a grand statement at his concert in Central Park in New York City by getting down on both knees in support of the movement. Wonder did not mention the president by name but his decision to take a knee came after Trump’s twitter posts. Wonder simply stated, “Tonight I’m taking a knee for America” (Washingtonpost.com).

Although there are many supporters in favor of the movement, there is also a portion that does not see it in nearly the same light. Alongside Trump, many Americans have burned their jerseys and athletic gear. Employees of football teams who did not agree with the movement quit their jobs and others boycotted games. ‘Take A Knee’ hate propaganda began to spread through the internet affecting people in various ways. (cnn.com).

The Take A Knee movement has been affecting society since the moment Kaepernick knelt on the football field. There are two different sides to this situation, and the movement is being shaped to each side’s benefit.