Kneeling controversy opens student response

“I will not take a knee if my team doesn’t,” said first-year  and Guilford’s own center-mid soccer player Laszlo van Straelen after asked about his views on the recent #TakeAKnee protest. The protest has become a rippling campaign that has recently shined a light on the recent police brutality issues.

Several people in our Guilford community commented about their feelings regarding the protest. Many that were questioned were Guilford athletes and in each situation, the response was the same. Almost every team member felt strongly about the campaign and what it stands for, but when asked if they would participate in the protest by taking a knee at one their own games, they were less responsive. Some walked away refusing to answer due to the fact that no one would agree with them, and others even tried to change the subject.

Similar to van Straelen, others said that if their teammates took a knee in unison with the protest, then they might have joined as well. This hesitation demonstrates a common internal debate for a large amount of American society.

People have shown a tendency to fall into certain opinions because of popular beliefs, but there are outliers in this system. This is important to keep in mind, seeing as some of Guilford’s players feel the exact same way. They believe that police brutality is an issue, but also feel as if they a disrespecting the flag.

“There is a good apple and bad apple in every bunch. Some officers are bad, and some officers are good,” said first-year Tori Maness. “That does not give people the right to take a knee to our flag or disrespect officers who want to protest and serve people.”

Now, while some stand to take this view, others seem to come back to the fact that the #TakeAKnee protest is no longer what it started out as. For example, the protest was at first used to signify the injustice in police brutality cases against African-Americans, then it shifted into being a case of their rights to freedom of speech and somehow became focused around the outspoken comments that President Trump continued to make on social media.

It has shifted its way around to several different meanings, and is still being widely recognized. The fact that one movement can hold so many different purposes is both impactful and effective.

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