Sitting vs Standing during the Anthem

by Justin Su , Sports Editor

San Francisco 49ers backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick has recently received criticism from some and support from others after deciding not to stand during the national anthem before football games.

His protest started during the preseason to protest injustices against African-Americans and other minorities in the U.S. Since then, other NFL players and even high school football players around the country have adopted his protest to show consolidation.

“I think it’s wrong to kneel against the anthem, but protesting against racial injustice is [good] and [racial injustice is] definitely a big problem, and I think he’s doing a very good job about it,” upper school offensive lineman Saketh Gurram (12) said. “It’s not like he’s just kneeling during the national anthem and not doing anything about it. He said he’s going to be donating his first millions to organizations to help improve the lives [of those people].”

Other players are far less supportive of what Kaepernick is doing.

“It’s America, and you have the right to believe in and say what you believe in, but I don’t think he should abuse that right, and I think that is what he’s doing,” upper school quarterback Nate Kelly (11) said. “I don’t really stand for what he’s doing, and it’s something I definitely wouldn’t do—I think it’s a sign of disrespect.”

According to football coach Mike Tirabassi, no upper school football players have knelt during the anthem.

“Our procedure has always been to stand on a line, helmets off, shoulder-to-shoulder, facing the American flag; that’s always been what we’ve done. [This year] I haven’t said anything differently than I always have,” Tirabassi said. “If one of them did approach me, I would really want to listen to why they wanted to do that and try to understand why they wanted to do anything and try to understand before I made a decision on what we would do, but I would first want to understand their perspective.”

The athletic department has no policy against silent protest, and students who wish to act similarly to Kaepernick are within their rights to do so.

“We don’t have an official policy, but we respect the students’ freedom of speech as guaranteed by the constitution,” Athletic Director Dan Molin said. “We won’t deny that opportunity.”


This piece was originally published in the pages of The Winged Post on October 11, 2016.