The National Football League has recently been in midst of a major controversy following the actions of several NFL players kneeling in protest during the national anthem. The protests began in 2016 with former 49er’s quarterback Colin Kaepernick refusing to stand for the anthem during games in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
BLM is an activist movement that became popular in the United States after multiple cases of police officers wrongfully killing African-American men went public. The African-American community felt they were being mistreated because of their race, given that many officers were acquitted. However, their movement is very controversial and others believe they are anti-police and looking for handouts.
The BLM values are solely the reason why NFL players kneel during the national anthem; their hope is to send a message to the country, of their belief, that people of color are still not treated equally. So, how is this affecting the children who watch their role model every week on TV—that all-star quarterback or that super fast running back—that they look up to and want to be like when they grow up?
An Illinois club football team of 8-year-old boys was seen kneeling with their coach during the national anthem before one of their games. The coach, Orlando Gooden, appeared on Fox for an interview to discuss why their team made the decision to protest.
Gooden said that one of his kids asked him about the protesting and rioting in St. Louis, so the coach asked the young boy, “Do you know why they are doing it?”
The child responded, “Because black people are getting killed and nobody’s going to jail.” Their conversation comes shortly after a judge made the decision to acquit former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley. Stockley was accused of murdering an African-American man named Anthony Lamar Smith in 2011, but was found not guilty.
Gooden reportedly felt that this was a “good teaching moment,” so he had a meeting with the entire team. He told his boys that these are the exact reasons Colin Kaepernick kneeled during the anthem. Intrigued, the kids wanted to follow Kaepernick’s example and with the support of the coach and their parents, that’s exactly what they did.
The football coach and the kids’ parents faced a lot of backlash on social media after encouraging this type of silent protesting. Many pointed out that these kids are so young, they most likely don’t truly understand the concept behind kneeling. Additionally, these children are being strongly influenced by the adults around them and their role models on television.
Listen to the phone interview with the football coach below. What do you think about these children protesting the national anthem? Share your thoughts in our Facebook comments. In other political news, Hillary Clinton took a subtle shot at First Lady Melania Trump. Read the details here. Thank you!