The sun shines brightly on the fall leaves, yet the field itself is in shade. The national anthem begins to ring out. The team in white stands tall, hands over hearts. The team in blue kneels, arms around each other’s shoulders.
“We [my team] were hoping to contribute to the movement of acknowledging the injustice that’s taking place in society today. It was a peaceful protest. We did it because Trump and his administration get mad when people are unified, but in reality, they’re the ones dividing us,” said Parker Bata, a senior at Lincoln Prep Academy.
The idea to join the protest had been floating in the minds of Bata’s team for a while. After DACA was ended and America responded poorly to the devastation in Puerto Rico, the team felt that enough was enough and that they needed to speak out.
“I agree with their cause. This isn’t just about advancing political ideas, it is about standing up to racism and inequality,” said Sophie Schulze, a Park Hill South freshman.
Others agree with Schulze, responding positively to Bata’s Instagram post regarding the protest. Some of the comments include, “So proud of you all,” “Way to take a stand,” “Respect.”
However, as with any political or moral statement, there are those who disagree. Jamal Zlitni, sophomore, is one of them.
“I feel like taking a knee disrespects our country and the people who fight for it. It is uncalled for,” said Zlitni.
After making their statement, Bata and his teammates won the soccer match 3-2. Bata said that his team is like his family, and he was proud both of their performance and their consensus that the movement started by professional athletes was also theirs to defend.
To the people who don’t agree with taking a knee during the game, Bata said, “I respect your opinion. I would like them to understand that disrespecting the flag and those who fight for it is not the goal. We are only speaking out against inequality and those who promote it. Sometimes, the best way to stand up is to kneel.”
Flash back to those two teams. The one in white is the traditional, ideal picture of patriotism. The one in blue is not. It is up to us to interpret what kneeling means. Is it a new wave of patriotic equality, or a way to disregard the flag and all it stands for?