Senior Elias Hardman took a seat during the national anthem at the first Parkrose home football game Sept. 9. Some students assumed he did it to be a part of a trend, but Hardman said he feels genuine about the protest.
49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick became a trending topic when he sat and then kneeled during the national anthem to protest mistreatment of African Americans. The movement has expanded to numerous high school football teams. Players at Lincoln High School and David Douglas High School took a knee with one fist in the air at games this fall, according KGW News.
I agree with Kaepernick. It’s unfair how African American people have been treated. It feels like the target has especially been on the backs of African American men, like my brothers. Even when police brutality is caught on camera, there is no justice for the black community.
Some Parkrose students such as senior Thomas Grant are all for the movement.
“I’m very supportive of Kap,” Grant said. “The movement is about justice. I think his motives are very pure.”
Grant said that because Parkrose is very diverse, so he feels the need for us to communicate about justice and racism within this school.
Not all Parkrose football players agree with Kaepernick or with Parkrose’s Hardman. De’Andre Pickett, a senior and captain of the football team, feels it is rather disrespectful to people in the military.
“I don’t like how Kaepernick took a seat because that’s disrespectful. People fought for us to play the game,” Pickett said. “I would suggest everyone within their communities to communicate, then come together.”
Pickett doesn’t want football to become segregated, with races pitted against each other, and I couldn’t agree more. However, Hardman’s actions and Kaepernick’s actions are bringing awareness to the discrimination without hurting anyone.
Hardman started standing at the third football game of the season because “our team has been playing dysfunctionally.”
Hardman still supports the movement, however, and took a knee at the homecoming assembly Oct. 17.
This goes further than just football. This concerns unity, trust and forgiveness. According to statistics published by the Washington Post, over 50% of police fatal police shootings were African Americans. There’s plenty of reasons why African Americans fear the system instead of seeing it as protection. Trust is definitely needed in our country with one another. The sit or stand movement goes further than the national anthem, which is why Kaepernick says he is doing this for the Black Lives Matter movement. This is about human lives being mistreated, not a pledge.
Parkrose wide receiver senior Reginald Richmond said he completely supports Kaepernick and Hardman. However, Richmond and Pickett said that Head Football Coach Brian Davis wants the team to stay quiet on the topic.
“My coach will be upset if players took a knee, possibly because of attention,” Richmond said.
Davis declined to comment, saying he doesn’t want attention on his team in any negative way. He also said he would prefer if his team didn’t say too much to the media as well.
It appears Davis is trying to keep his team quiet instead of supporting their rights. But they deserve to have their voices heard.
Other Parkrose staff are supporting the movement, such as Parkrose Dean of Students Antoinette Harrison. However, Harrison says she doesn’t know how effective this movement will be around the world because there are African-Americans being killed in their seat belt with their child in the back seat on video with no justice being served.
“Rest in peace Philando Castile,” Harrison said.
Some schools would rather avoid the elephant in the room, but Harrison is proud that our school doesn’t mind communicating topics that go on in our world.
“Talking about this brings unity and humanity awareness to Parkrose High School,” Harrison said.
The movement is about justice and being able to exercise your rights. It’s bringing awareness to what’s been getting ignored for years. An athlete speaking out has brought needed attention to the situation. Supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement stood outside the court buildings, caused traffic, and it never went as viral as the sit or stand movement.
Kaepernick is sitting for Eric Garner who was killed for selling cigarettes, mentally ill Ezell Ford who was killed for not verbally communicating and 12-year-old Tamir Rice whose toy gun was mistaken for a real weapon. All killed with no justice nor real reasoning. Police can’t continually kill and not expect a response from the minority communities.
We need to do something America hasn’t done in awhile: respect one another and support each other. By sitting or kneeling on the field, athletes are doing what we should all do -- standing up for our rights.