Hashtag Take the Knee: The Universal Solidarity of the NFL

Official Chicago Bears Reporter

By Wanda Wiedman / @WandaW63 

It has been a very emotional week for the NFL to say the least. Last year a young man privately took a knee during the National Anthem in what he believed to be a personal statement of the oppression of his fellow human beings. One year later a response from the President of the United States has forced every single NFL team to respond with a sign of solidarity.

Early this morning in London, England, the Baltimore Ravens and the Jacksonville Jaguars answered the POTUS by several players taking a knee and others standing, but all locking arms in unity. Jaguars Owner Shad Khan stood pregame, locking arms with his players as he was the first owner to show his support.  Following the game he made this statement:

“It was a privilege to stand on the sidelines with the Jacksonville Jaguars today for the playing of the U.S. national anthem at Wembley Stadium. I met with our team captains prior to the game to express my support for them, all NFL players and the league following the divisive and contentious remarks made by President Trump, and was honored to be arm in arm with them, their teammates and our coaches during our anthem. Our team and the National Football League reflects our nation, with diversity coming in many forms-race, faith, our views and our goals. We have a lot of work to do, and we can do it, but the comments from the President makes it harder. That’s why it was important for us, and personally for me, to show the world that even if we may differ at times, we can and should be united in the effort to become better as people and a nation.”

Every team participated in support in one way or another. For example, all the players for the Pittsburgh Steelers did not leave the locker room during the national anthem, with the exception of left tackle Alejandro Villanueva, an Army Ranger who served in Afghanistan. He stood at the edge of the tunnel standing with his hand over his heart. As for the Chicago Bears, they stood, arms locked as a team with the full support of their coaches and owners.

It is a sad day in our nation when the leader of this free country refers to a fellow citizen, who chose to take a knee and has not once said anything derogatory or mean spirited to advance his cause, an SOB for doing so. This is from the President.

This morning, I went to church and took a knee. I have seen people rise to compassion and grit when fighting for our freedoms and helping those in need. This became more than it should have been. But when I took a knee, which is my right as a citizen in a free country, I chose to pray for those who hate, who are divisive, who have lost sight of what this country has been founded on.But as a country we need to stand with each other not against each other.

And to the parents of Colin Kaepernick, you did not raise an SOB. You raised a young man who believes that what he is doing is right, and in a peaceful way. The POTUS owes you an apology since he has out right insulted you.

The NFL has made their statement, the teams and owners have made their statement, and it’s just the beginning of the season. We as a nation of diverse people will rise up and show that we can be unified and respect each other as human beings, regardless of what we believe in.  

 

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One thought on “Hashtag Take the Knee: The Universal Solidarity of the NFL

  1. Lovely post, Wanda. It has long been my hope that these types of actions taken on a national stage would foster conversation rather than acrimony. I am still undecided on the issue of athletes taking a knee during the national anthem. I completely understand why they are doing so, but I simply don’t see the action fostering the type of conversation they had hoped for. Whether that’s the fault of those kneeling or the fault of those failing to question why others are kneeling, I suspect the truth falls somewhere in the middle. I am grateful that these men who have chosen to stake out such a public position, are doing so with peaceful action. I have no doubt that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would have been proud of their choice to employ non-violence.

    I’m left wondering why athletes must be on the field for the national anthem at all, since, until 2009, they remained in the locker room until the anthem was over.

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