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Football coach respects BHS players’ decision to kneel in response to president’s comments

team joins NFL players in protest against police brutality

Varsity+football+players+kneel+during+the+national+anthem+against+West+Seattle+High+School+on+Sept.+30.
Varsity football players kneel during the national anthem against West Seattle High School on Sept. 30.

Varsity football players kneel during the national anthem against West Seattle High School on Sept. 30.

Miles Whitworth

Miles Whitworth

Varsity football players kneel during the national anthem against West Seattle High School on Sept. 30.

Hayden Evans, Staff Reporter

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Numerous players from around the NFL protested police brutality against African-Americans recently. Although this movement has been attracting attention ever since Colin Kaepernick started it last August, this season brought a dramatic increase in the number of participating players. Over 200 players protested during the national anthem on Sept. 24; many of them participated in response to President Donald Trump’s comments at a rally in Alabama on Sept. 22. Trump criticized the NFL for allowing its players to kneel during the national anthem, and said that NFL players who chose to kneel should be fired. He also encouraged a boycott of the NFL until it addresses the issue.

NFL players have been kneeling during the national anthem since Kaepernick started the movement at a preseason game in August of 2016. When questioned about his choice to kneel during the anthem by a reporter at a post-game press conference, Kaepernick responded by saying he chose to kneel because of the continued unfair treatment of people of color by law enforcement officials.

The movement attracted a lot of media attention, and other players from around the league began joining in as well. Former Seattle Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane was the second player to kneel during the anthem. He kneeled during the final preseason game of the 2016 season. By week one of the NFL season, 11 players from around the league chose to participate in the protest.

Last football season, many players on the football team started kneeling during the national anthem at games. Some players have continued to kneel this season. Head Coach Ross Humphries supports players in their decision to protest during the anthem, just as long as they’re respectful. “We’ve talked about it as a team, whether you want to kneel or stand, that’s your business and we will respect you for it. We just don’t want to see anybody being disrespectful during that time,” Humphries said.

Humphries also wants his players to make their own decisions regarding the anthem. He doesn’t want to see players looking at their teammates and basing their decision to kneel or stand on other players. Humphries said the whole team had a discussion about kneeling and standing during anthems before the season started; he told players that they were free to kneel during the anthem, but he encouraged them to think about what exactly they were kneeling for.

Our players aren’t the only players kneeling in Seattle. Last fall, the Garfield football team received national attention when all of its players decided to kneel together during the anthem before a game against West Seattle. The team announced that it had unanimously decided to kneel during the anthem because of the repeated instances of white police officers shooting unarmed black men. Many of its players continue to kneel this season.

The history of the national anthem at NFL games is more complicated than it may seem. The first documented performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at a sports event occurred at a baseball game in Brooklyn, New York on May 15, 1862. At the time, “The Star-Spangled Banner” was not even the United States’ national anthem; it was used as an anthem for the army and navy. It didn’t become the official national anthem until 1931, but it wasn’t performed at every professional sports event until 1943. Prior to 1943 it was saved for special occasions; championship games or games on holidays were the only ones where the anthem was performed. It was simply too expensive for teams to hire a band to play the anthem at every game.

In the World War II era, patriotism was at an all-time high. Many Americans thought of the National Anthem as support for the soldiers fighting in World War II. New sound systems also allowed the playing of recorded music at sports events, so the anthem was no longer a financial burden on teams. The performance of the national anthem before professional sports games has remained standard since the second World War.

Players’ actions during the national anthem have not always appeared as patriotic as they do today. Before 2009, the NFL did not have a policy regarding teams’ actions during the national anthem. Some teams chose to stay in the locker rooms for the anthem, while others continued warming up on the sidelines.

In 2014, Jeff Flake and John McCain, both senators from Arizona, revealed in a joint oversight report titled “Tackling Paid Patriotism” that the Department of Defense had paid the NFL $5.4 million since 2009 in order for teams to display “patriotic salutes” during the pre-game national anthem. Interestingly, the NFL changed its policy regarding the anthem in 2009; teams were no longer allowed to stay in locker rooms for the anthem, and players were “highly encouraged” to participate in the performance.

The National Guard has spent an additional $6.7 million on marketing and advertising contracts with professional sports teams from 2012 to 2015. This money led to teams honoring war veterans before games and participating in military appreciation games. This was all part of a huge military recruitment campaign that was started in 2009 and has been met with much displeasure from politicians across the country.

McCain and Flake accused the Department of Defense of paid patriotism: paying people to appear patriotic when they may not be otherwise. “What is upsetting is when you see activities like this that people assume when they go to games are paid for out of the goodness of the heart by the owners and the teams, and then to find out the taxpayers are paying for it,” Flake said at a news conference with McCain in 2015.

“Tackling Paid Patriotism” also included a list of how much money professional sports teams received from the Department of Defense. The Atlanta Falcons received $879,000, more than any other team. The Seahawks were eighth on the list at $453,000. Of the ten teams that received the most from the Department of Defense, eight of them were in the NFL.

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31 Comments

31 Responses to “Football coach respects BHS players’ decision to kneel in response to president’s comments”

  1. Mandy on October 23rd, 2017 1:11 PM

    I think that it is important for students to make their own decision when it comes to The National Anthem. I find it very interesting that the department of defense is paying some teams but I feel that it does not greatly impact the individual who knows what they are kneeling or standing for. As Hayden Evans writes, “[Coach] Humphries also wants his players to make their own decisions regarding the anthem. He doesn’t want to see players looking at their teammates and basing their decision to kneel or stand on other players.” I think that is an important note. We should not let others influence our decisions and our values. We must think for ourselves. Hayden also writes, “Trump criticized the NFL for allowing its players to kneel during the national anthem, and said that NFL players who chose to kneel should be fired.” While the President may be a leading bully of those who choose to kneel, to protest police brutality, it is important to see that here in Seattle we allow everyone to choose for themselves.

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  2. Freeman on October 23rd, 2017 1:15 PM

    I noticed the article “NFL players kneel in protest against police brutality” presented the argument of why it is okay to kneel but it didn’t present why the football players should stand. There were numerous examples of teams and players that decided to kneel. For example, Garfield against West Seattle and Kaepernick. The article presented why they all decided to kneel but by not presenting the counterargument, (like a football player or team that decides to stand) the reader is forced to agree that we should all kneel. The lack of balance in the article, gave it a biased approach which could be balanced by offering the counterargument.

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  3. Charlie Rezanka on October 23rd, 2017 1:17 PM

    I respect our coach’s approach to this sesitive issue. I do genuinely believe and support the athletes who feel obligated to do this, and yet I still think it should be an individual choice, one of personal consequence. For those moral issues and the quality of the article itself, which is superb, I would be happy to recommend it if someone asked me to.

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  4. Max on October 23rd, 2017 4:57 PM

    This article is really great! I love how it started with the history of how the kneeling during the national anthem began, and later continued to reveal how it progressed. It’s really cool how it tied in to high school football and Garfield becuase when it related to that it really connected to Seattle and my life. It did a really great job of pointing out the leading up to what’s happening today.

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  5. Anna Hofbauer on October 23rd, 2017 5:20 PM

    Growing up in a liberal city with liberal parents has molded me into a person with strong opinions about how people of color are treated in our society. People are being murdered and their killers are going free under the protection of white skin and a badge. I could name many but the two names that come to mind are Trayvon Martin and Philando Castille. Players kneel to protest these atrocities, and they should be allowed to. The only requirement for kneeling should be knowing why you are doing it. Know about the injustices you’re protesting, know why kneeling is significant, and know that being a sheep doesn’t change anything. Everyone needs to make their own decision for their own reasons.

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  6. Grace Stromatt on October 23rd, 2017 5:44 PM

    I think that it is really great that not only are students at Ballard kneeling during the anthem but that they aren’t ridiculed and feel safe doing so. Its great to know the staff and community here at Ballard support and respect all opinions and peoples. It is an appalling issue and the idea that kneeling is disrespecting the flag and therefore shouldn’t be allowed is hypocritical when often American flag prints are over everything from napkins to underwear so why is this disrespect suddenly getting so much attention? Because people can use it as justification for their prejudices and discrimination.

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  7. Celyn Stermer on October 23rd, 2017 5:45 PM

    I agree with the decision to make it mandatory for the team to be out on the field and respectful to the playing of the anthem as well as being highly encouraged to participate in the performance. I think that for those who are standing for and patriotic towards the national anthem because they are supporting those in the army or navy, being aware of the national anthem, even if you aren’t standing, is respecting those who are. I think that the way these teams have been going about this is perfect. It’s a protest for what they believe but it’s also being civil towards what others believe as well. Therefore you aren’t disrespecting anyones values.

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  8. Aaron Maschhoff on October 23rd, 2017 5:59 PM

    The coach’s decision to allow players to protest if they want to is the correct response to the rising protests in the NFL against police brutality towards African-Americans because it allows the players to think about what they believe. By allowing the players to choose for themselves the team is encouraging the students to think about what they personally feel and not follow what other people do. According to a recent survey by CNBC, 61% of Americans say players who protest should not be fired while 27% think they should be. The survey shows that people have varying opinions about what is right- the question boils down to supporting the players’ protests, which is one’s own personal choice. As such, allowing the players to think about what they believe and make their own decision allows for that opinion to be formed and not simply forced upon them. Each side does have its own argument- according to the Washington Post, at least 232 black people were shot and killed by police, justifying the calls for protesting against police brutality. On the other side, people argue that kneeling for the flag sends an anti-America message that is not good for the public. It is obvious that there is police brutality against African-Americans, but it is correct to give the players a chance to decide whether they want to protest that by kneeling for the anthem or not given the varying view people have. It is commendable that the football team has made this decision in the face of the national attention this issue is getting.

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  9. Robert Wilbur on October 23rd, 2017 6:07 PM

    So, let me guess, the vast majority of comments you guys have gotten on this website have been from APLA students, haven’t they. Well, as I am also in said class, I’m gonna make a comment too. I think that the act of kneeling during the national anthem, or pledge of allegiance, or whatever, is a perfectly respectable and admirable way to protest injustice in this country. First of all, it doesn’t hurt ANYBODY, unless your ego somehow depends on every single person in the world staring at our very special piece of cloth with awe…or unless you’re our President, sorry, I had to go there. Second, it doesn’t show disrespect for the country, instead, the idea that people are willing to go against the majority for something they care about, makes me respect it even more. I think that it is a peaceful and honorable symbol of what this country values most.

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  10. Roxanne on October 23rd, 2017 7:14 PM

    I agree with the movement in which NFL players kneel in protest to police brutality. Although the star spangled banner is supposed to rally national support and patriotism, often people of color and especially African Americans have often gotten the short end of the stick. This protest is not to dishonor the United States but rather to dishonor and revolt against years of racism. Especially in a high school that is not ethnically diverse, it is important to recognize the importance of why some football players continue the protest. The recent shootings of unarmed black men and our president’s comments about the protest have made it supremely clear that this fight is not over. But because of the press, protests like this can be recognized and understood which is very important given the united states current situation.

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  11. Rachel on October 23rd, 2017 8:30 PM

    I believe that when people kneel for the National Anthem they are actually doing it out of a great respect for the flag and the values that it is supposed to represent. Megan Rapinoe, soccer player for the US Soccer Team, explains her choice to kneel during the anthem: “I can understand if you think that I’m disrespecting the flag by kneeling, but it is because of my utmost respect for the flag and the promise it represents that I have chosen to demonstrate in this way. When I take a knee, I am facing the flag with my full body, staring straight into the heart of our country’s ultimate symbol of freedom — because I believe it is my responsibility, just as it is yours, to ensure that freedom is afforded to everyone in this country.” Kneeling is her way to show people that she wants to keep the country accountable for it’s actions, and I believe that she is doing this out of love for the country and it’s people. I have also heard the argument that kneeling doesn’t do anything to help the problems in our country. However, people who have a big platform due to sports have the ability to draw attention to the issues and get millions of people talking about it. This not only potentially starts the process of fixing the process, but it also lets the victims of police brutality and people who are affected by it know that there are many people who stand with them and do not support what they have gone through.

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  12. Madison Wick on October 23rd, 2017 8:50 PM

    I found this article very interesting because it focuses on a large controversy that is directly impacting our school and our nation. This article takes a closer look at the morals and decision making involved in an athlete’s choice to stand or kneel during the national anthem. I believe that each athlete should have the power to choose whether they want to stand or kneel, as long as they show respect and dignity. This idea stems from the statement made by Coach Humphries; “‘We’ve talked about it as a team, whether you want to kneel or stand, that’s your business and we will respect you for it. We just don’t want to see anybody being disrespectful during that time.’” This quote summarizes the idea that each person should be allowed to make their own choices regarding the controversial issue, without showing disrespect. I choose to believe that everyone is able to make a choice. To stand or to kneel reflects your view on the situation. There is no right or wrong answer and therefore I think it is important that each person is able to openly share their opinion. The following statement made in the Talisman supports this idea; “Humphries also wants his players to make their own decisions regarding the anthem. He doesn’t want to see players looking at their teammates and basing their decision to kneel or stand on other players…he told players that they were free to kneel during the anthem, but he encouraged them to think about what exactly they were kneeling for.” When choosing to kneel or stand you should remain respectful and consider your own individual views on the issue. Overall, it is important that each athlete is able to make informed and personal decisions regarding this controversial topic while remaining respectful.

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  13. Emma Inge on October 23rd, 2017 8:54 PM

    I think that this was a really good article. I do believe that football players kneeling is ok, and that it is for a great cause and awareness especially at a high school level. I think that all ages kneeling make it so all ages are now feeling ok to protest and share their mind about these topics.
    I find it very interesting how so much money was involved in many of the things we now think of as tradition(like the star spangles banner). I do find it sad that it has to be money to force anyone to change.
    The way things are right now, where people only chose to see what they want to see, and disagree with everyone is sad. And nothing will be done in this world if people don’t open up and look at the objecting side with an open mind, an realizing their initial thought might be wrong. Because many people choose to believe that kneeling is dis honoring the military, but its far from that. Because what is a better way to raise awareness to the injustice that the US promised to honor than kneeling?

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  14. Stephania Florido on October 23rd, 2017 9:11 PM

    This article is so great, I love that we as a school are so strong and bold that we can openly talk about topics like these. I believe that our school does such an amazing job in letting students choose what they want to do based on their own opinions on matters such as these. A great example of this is our football coach, he devoted time to have a sit down with his players to talk about how they felt on this matter and how they wanted to handle it. I respect him so much for letting them making their own decision on whether to kneel or stand. Everyone has their own opinions and should be allowed to do what they want (within reason) based on those opinions. It’s astonishing to me that we are in 2017 and there is still biased on skin and race. The only thing that makes me feel better though is that there are so many good people in the world that are trying to end racism once and for all. We were all born the same way and color, race, sex, sexuality, should not change the fact that everyone should be treated equally.

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  15. Cynthia Luna on October 23rd, 2017 9:14 PM

    Whether to kneel or not during the national anthem, has been a topic that has been brought up multiple times, more than it ever has been, in my APLA class, and in my U.S. history class. This topic was brought up, as the article mentioned, when Trump said NFL players should be fired if they don’t stand during the national anthem. I and most people in my classes believe everyone should have the choice to decide what to do, stand, kneel, etc, yet people should do it in a respectful manner. I agree with the idea that people should be able to decide on what to do, because there are personal reasons for why they chose to kneel.

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  16. Jeremy Miyake on October 23rd, 2017 9:48 PM

    I agree with the decision to allow players to kneel during the national anthem, it is their right to do so. However, I think that players should only kneel if they have feelings or opinions that influence why they are doing it. As said by Coach Humphries, “they were free to kneel during the anthem, but he encouraged them to think about what exactly they were kneeling for.”. I think this is important because your actions will have much more meaning if you put your beliefs behind them. For example, “The team announced that it had unanimously decided to kneel during the anthem because of the repeated instances of white police officers shooting unarmed black men.”. This meaning behind their kneeling gives it much more significance and is the difference between just an action and conveying a belief.

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  17. Jordan Bowles on October 23rd, 2017 9:58 PM

    I feel like the players on any sports team in the United States of America have the right to peacefully protest and because of this, they should be able to exercise this right. These Ballard players, NFL players and any other athlete who is choosing to partake in this stand against police brutality, is not at any fault, whether we disagree with when they’re protesting or how they’re protesting. Additionally, the athletes who are partaking in the protesting, and are kneeling during the anthem before the games of their sport, are doing it respectfully. In no way are they disrespecting their country while they’re protesting. Therefore, why do we have such a big problem with it? Is it really the act of their protesting that people dislike or is it the fact that they are protesting or where they are protesting. We should stop focusing so much on the details of where and when they are protesting and focus more on why they’re protesting. We need to start looking closer at our society and the decisions we make as a country and what happens within our country, because if it’s happening within our country, continuously, then we are all held accountable. Or at leas we should be. In the Talisman article they quotes President Trump saying, “Trump criticized the NFL for allowing its players to kneel during the national anthem, and said that NFL players who chose to kneel should be fired. He also encouraged a boycott of the NFL until it addresses the issue” (1). In my opinion, the President has no right to encouraging this kind of actions when I feel its the opposite that we should be doing.

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  18. Alli Beaulieu on October 23rd, 2017 10:10 PM

    I believe that the action of kneeling during the national anthem is a right that everyone has and should be able to use. I agree with the Ballard football coach Humphries, that the players should not be “looking at their teammates and basing their decision to kneel or stand on other players”. Doing it just because others are doing it is not a good use of a protest. The students all have a right to be able to stand or kneel during the anthem, but I agree that they should think of what they are kneeling for specifically before they do so. In the First Amendment, people of the United States are given the right to exercise free speech, and this protest is a form of that right. The fact that Donald Trump is calling the protesters out and telling them they shouldn’t do so is violating their rights, which he as president is supposed to protect. I think it is odd that NFL teams are paid to show patriotism, because it seems to me that government shouldn’t interfere with/ force/ bribe organizations that have nothing to do with government. Football is a sport that many people are a fan of, and I hope that the 200 or more players who choose to participate in the protest have gotten their message across to those who it is directed at.

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  19. Owen de la Harpe on October 23rd, 2017 10:20 PM

    I really enjoyed how the writer explained the magnitude of the situation by giving examples of how it has affected the whole country then tied it in to how it has affected our community. In the first paragraph he stated how 200 NFL players protested the national anthem on September 24th. This shines light on how big the protests are nationwide. Then, later in the article, he says that many players on the BHS football team have kneeled during the anthem. This really brings the whole article together; he compares how the protests have affected the whole country along side what they’ve meant to our community.

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  20. Tyler Collings on October 23rd, 2017 10:57 PM

    I appreciate that people in our Ballard community are not afraid to stand up for what they believe in. The coach has put everyone in a safe environment to speak their mind and show how they feel in a peaceful way. Coach says “We’ve talked about it as a team, whether you want to kneel or stand, that’s your business and will will respect you for it.” By the coach saying this he lets his team know that they can make whatever decision they choose and the team will back you up. I thought it was interesting to read about kids that I go to school and are friends with and the insight of how an athlete I know approaches this topic. We read and hear about it on television but I think it is interesting when people you know start to do the same thing as guys like Colin Kaepernick. I also appreciated that the coach says, “they were free to kneel during the anthem, but he encouraged them to think about what they were kneeling for.” I think sometimes people see it on TV and it looks like the right thing to do but don’t always know what they are exactly doing it for. By the coach saying this now people can think about the purpose of what some might choose to do.

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  21. Sophie on October 23rd, 2017 11:33 PM

    I thought this was a very interesting piece and it was very interesting to see the student side of this issue.

    I believe that it is very important for high schoolers to be able to have the freedom to express their opinions and beliefs.

    One idea from this article that supports that is when Coach Humphries said “We’ve talked about it as a team, whether you want to kneel or stand, that’s your business and we will respect you for it. We just don’t want to see anybody being disrespectful during that time.” I think the coach made a really good decision that allowed students to respectfully express themselves.

    A second idea from the article that supports my claim is when Garfield High School is mentioned “The team announced that it had unanimously decided to kneel during the anthem because of the repeated instances of white police officers shooting unarmed black men. Many of its players continue to kneel this season.” I think this supports my central idea because it is an example of another school using their power to allow students to express themselves and stand up for their rights and issues that matter.

    Overall this article was very interesting to me, and I enjoyed learning more about the situation.

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    Sophie Reply:

    I thought this was a very interesting piece and it was very interesting to see the student side of this issue.

    I believe that it is very important for high schoolers to be able to have the freedom to express their opinions and beliefs.

    One idea from this article that supports that is when Coach Humphries said “We’ve talked about it as a team, whether you want to kneel or stand, that’s your business and we will respect you for it. We just don’t want to see anybody being disrespectful during that time.” I think the coach made a really good decision that allowed students to respectfully express themselves.

    A second idea from the article that supports my claim is when Garfield High School is mentioned “The team announced that it had unanimously decided to kneel during the anthem because of the repeated instances of white police officers shooting unarmed black men. Many of its players continue to kneel this season.” I think this supports my central idea because it is an example of another school using their power to allow students to express themselves and stand up for their rights and issues that matter.

    Overall this article was very interesting to me, and I enjoyed learning more about the situation.

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  22. Connor Kazanjian on October 23rd, 2017 11:58 PM

    Everyone should be able to stand up for what they believe in. Especially in peaceful protest, and that’s just what this kneeling during the national anthem trend is all about. Kaepernick was the start and it has escalated very quickly, to all branches of sports across the country. Donald Trumps comments only made matters worse, when he suggested protesting players should get fired. This is just what’s breaking our country apart, the lack of unity.

    If it were me on the field, I wouldn’t do it. I respect the flag and what it stands for too much to kneel, or not participate entirely. But I would not condemn those who did, as they are exercising their right in the way that they want, this should be embraced.

    I liked the head coach, Ross Humphries, approach to the topic. He talks about how he wants each player to really think about their reason for kneeling. He wants to make sure they really care, not just see someone else doing it and follow along. Before reading this article I didn’t know that there weren’t rules about the national anthem until 2009. I had always thought that players and coaches were always standing on the side lines. But this wasn’t the case, as it was common for teams to stay in the locker room during the national anthem.

    I think kneeling for the national anthem, all stemming from Kaepernick, has had a considerable impact. There is no doubting the attention it has drawn throughout America and beyond. The question is, what’s the next step? Is there a next step? Awareness has been achieved, but we need to wonder if this will actually affect the numbers on police brutality. Only time will tell, and it’s very intriguing to see. I hope these protests don’t get out of hand. It’s not good for our country to be fighting over it, instead of unifying even if we have different beliefs.

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  23. Lauren McCown on October 24th, 2017 12:13 AM

    I agree that anyone should be allowed to make their own decision in whether to kneel or stand during the national anthem. It’s each athlete’s choice to support what they want to, and to stand up for what they believe in. The Ballard High School football coach spoke to the controversy well: “‘We’ve talked about it as a team, whether you want to kneel or stand, that’s your business and we will respect you for it. We just don’t want to see anybody being disrespectful during that time,’ Humphries said”. This shows how as long as everyone is being respectful they should be allowed to show their support. It’s also important that it is realized what they are choosing to kneel for. Ross Humphries spoke about this to the BHS football players: “He told players that they were free to kneel during the anthem, but he encouraged them to think about what exactly they were kneeling for.” As long as the students and athletes are respectful and aware of what they are choosing, then everyone deserves the right to choose whether to stand or kneel.

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  24. Graciella Blanco on October 24th, 2017 1:00 AM

    It’s interesting how much us students don’t fully know about issues going on in our society today. Up until today I never knew that this “kneeling” had been happening for so long, I believed that it just recently started. When reading that, “NFL players have been kneeling during the national anthem since Kaepernick started the movement at a preseason game in August of 2016,” I was shocked. As a high-school student, I’m mostly exposed to big headline issues which is what this kneeling movement has become in the last couple of months. I never even knew about how many people ended up doing this in the NFL but when reading this article I found that, “Over 200 players protested during the national anthem on Sept. 24; many of them participated in response to President Donald Trump’s comments at a rally in Alabama on Sept. “

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  25. Lily on October 24th, 2017 1:12 AM

    While I agree with people’s right to kneel during the national anthem (love that first amendment), I believe that you should still stand during the national anthem. No matter what the intention or reason behind kneeling, it seems disrespectful. To me, it seems like it is ignoring all the men and women who sacrificed their lives to protect America. I do respect having an opinion and standing for it(no pun intended) but I would like to maybe see a differing opinion on hot-button issues like this.

    Thank you for your time.

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  26. Erica Dahl on October 24th, 2017 7:17 AM

    I thought that this article was very well written, and it prompted me to think about NFL players taking a knee on a more local level. As someone who occasionally goes to the football games at Ballard, I have seen some players stand, while others decide to kneel during the National Anthem, which I think is their right. Although I don’t know the game of football very well, this “issue” as some are calling it, has made me become more interested in the game as a whole, however, I had no idea that the National Guard and Department of Defense pay the NFL and professional sports teams. It was amazing for me to see that the “Department of Defense had paid the NFL $5.4 million since 2009”. Not only that, but I had no idea the history of the National Anthem was so complex, especially during sports games, therefore seeming to make the kneeling to the National Anthem something still important, but not something we should be dishonored or revolted by.

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  27. iAN cROCKER on October 24th, 2017 9:04 AM

    I thought this was a very well written article. I really liked the way you incorporated all of the background information to give the whole story. Sometimes, other articles don’t include all of the necessary information and leave some readers in the dark, but this one did a great job. Another part that stood out to me was that you included quotes from coach Humphries. I’m sure a good amount of the student body had no idea that the team had discussed this topic, and I’m glad they are now informed.

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  28. Caroline on October 24th, 2017 11:41 AM

    I noticed that at the Ballard vs. Cleveland game, during the national anthem a handful of ballard players knelt and nearly all of the cleveland players knelt. Why did so many more at cleveland kneel? The obvious is that the school and team have a much higher percentage of colored minorities who are greater affected by police brutality, which the movement of kneeling during the national anthem was founded to protest. I think that in order to make a difference though, and sufficiently protest this injustice, more people have to stand up for racial injustice and kneel down. It is not unpatriotic to kneel, it is not dishonoring your country. It is choosing not to support what the government of this country has been doing and that which has not changed and met justice. Mark Twain said that “patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it”. More people need to make a statement against injustice, and that includes players at ballard. I can’t imagine any Ballard player believing that police brutality is okay and there shouldn’t be any work done to stop it, so they should join in the movement and take a knee during the anthem.

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  29. Eileen MacDonald on October 24th, 2017 10:25 PM

    I think it is very important that this article was written, and I applaud you for taking on a rather controversial issue and doing such thorough research on it. I especially loved how you included the history of the anthem and on how patriotism has been used and has evolved in commercial use through time. I think it is essential to our basic human rights that players be allowed to kneel for the flag, as it is allowing them to express themselves and their beliefs freely and respectfully and to broadcast them to the world. While I understand that many people feel that they have other ways of showing protest towards injustice and brutality, and do not begrudge their continuing to stand, I think that if people feel it is the best way for them to convey the gravity of what is going on in our world today, that it is important that they are able to kneel. Our nation is in a difficult place in its history. Everywhere it faces violence, discrimination, and oppression. According to data collected by Mappingpoliceviolence.org, a database that collects information and statistics about police brutality, “Unarmed black people were killed at 5 times the rate of unarmed whites in 2015. Police killed at least 104 unarmed black people in 2015, nearly twice each week.” Those numbers are appalling, and in no way should exist as a norm for our country. Especially when given such cases of the many innocent African Americans killed by white police officers, it can be hard not to lose hope, but it is important to not lose sight of our own morals, values and beliefs. Many of the players that kneel on that field are displaying their grief, at losing so many innocent lives, but also displaying the power that even a small gesture of protest can have to start an important discussion for change. I think this message is best articulated in an interview for a Seattle times article about the topic with NFL receiver Doug Baldwin, “There’s a message that we want to share with the world and we think there’s no better an opportunity than the platform that we have because that’s the biggest platform that we have. It’s not a disrespect. We are honoring those who have sacrificed their lives in order for us to use our First Amendment right.” These players are using the largest opportunity they are given to honor the fallen, and facilitate change, and I don’t quite understand how that could be anything but admirable. I am so glad that you took the initiative to write about such an essential topic in our current political climate.

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  30. Marlowe Barrington on October 25th, 2017 5:42 PM

    I think it was on CNN that someone said “If you think kneeling during the national anthem is about protesting the flag, you must think Rosa Parks was protesting buses.” Or something to that effect. I really liked this statement and I think it ties in well with this article. Both Rosa Parks and Colin Kaepernick were protesting systemic racism. I think this article does a really good job of talking about the reasons that people do kneel, but I want to hear it from the players themselves. I also think it would be interesting to hear from students who chose not kneel and why. I believe (at least I hope) that all our players believe that Black Lives Matter and believe that police brutality is an issue that we must do everything in our power to change, but I also know that our school is majority white. Most kids at Ballard aren’t affected by these issues, and so maybe don’t think about it. I think that hearing from students who kneel and who don’t and how they support each other would be really cool. At our pep assembly a number of students and teachers knelt during our national anthem as organized by STAR club, and I’m excited to hear what Talisman has to say about that.

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The student news site of Ballard High School
Football coach respects BHS players’ decision to kneel in response to president’s comments