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What does it mean to take a knee?

Jaguars+players+kneel+during+the+national+anthem+before+a+game+against+the+Ravens+on+Sunday+September+24th%2C+2017+at+Wembley+Stadium+in+London
Jaguars players kneel during the national anthem before a game against the Ravens on Sunday September 24th, 2017 at Wembley Stadium in London

Jaguars players kneel during the national anthem before a game against the Ravens on Sunday September 24th, 2017 at Wembley Stadium in London

Jaguars players kneel during the national anthem before a game against the Ravens on Sunday September 24th, 2017 at Wembley Stadium in London

Mark Liu, Editor-in-Chief

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    In light of the recent surge of NFL players protesting by taking a knee during the national anthem, and in the wake of our president’s recent comments on the actions of those players, the origins of taking a knee must be re-examined.

   What does it mean when someone takes a knee? Besides the physical motion of bending one’s leg and bringing it to the ground, the action is highly symbolic.

   When Christians pray to God, they drop to their knees. In the days of old, princes would hail their kings and queens by bending down before them. With tenderness, many a prospective groom have taken a knee to propose to their future brides.

   That is why taking a knee is so powerful, and it is precisely why Donald Trump and critics of the protesting players are wrong.

    In no way, shape, or form is the protest directed at members of the armed forces or first responders. It has nothing to do with the flag or the anthem or the protestors themselves.

   When Colin Kaepernick first took a knee on September 1st, 2016, his intention was to simultaneously protest police brutality while respecting the flag, anthem, and all they stand for. He likened the action of taking a knee to flying a flag at half mast, something typically done during a tragic event.

Colin Kaepernick (R) and Eric Reid (L) kneel during the national anthem before a game against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday September 18th, 2016

 

   Today, the fact that Colin Kaepernick remains unsigned in the NFL and that there is so much outrage over grown men exercising their freedom of speech and right to peaceful protest demonstrates that we still have a ways to go as a nation.

   How ironic is it that many of those who proudly display the Confederate flag, symbolic of a failed uprising against the United States, are so pretentiously offended over a perceived attack on the American flag.

   It is even more absurd that these very same people choose the peaceful, legal, and justified protests as a reason to boycott the NFL, but were perfectly fine with domestic abusers, like Greg Hardy, and alleged murderers, like Ray Lewis, receiving second chances in the league.

   Though the movement has spread across the NFL (a year after it should have), and the overall message of the protests has shifted from inequality to “unity”, the meaning of taking a knee remains the same.

  It is a noble act symbolizing a nobler cause.

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What does it mean to take a knee?