Photo By Skylar O’Connell

Protests have been around since people started having opinions, whether it was the protests in Washington DC over the Vietnam War or the Million Man March in 1995 promoting black equality. One of the more prominent, recent protests is kneeling during the national anthem in regards to professional sports, namely within the National Football League.

Colin Kaepernick, former quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers, was the pioneer of this trend, dating all the way back to mid August 2016.  But nowadays, it draws attention from CNN, Fox News, and ESPN as entire teams in the NFL, and other sports leagues such as the NBA, WNBA, and the MLB, opting to take a knee together. Two sides have appeared prominent in this tense situation: one using kneeling as a way to show distaste for the racial inequality and police brutality happening in America, while the other believes it is disrespectful to the military, country, and government to take a knee.

“It’s obvious that there are two different sides in this and that is where I see the problem. I think we’re in a worse situation if we are divided. That should be obvious,” varsity basketball player Matt McKiddie said.

Dripping Springs has yet to be faced with this controversy, but the student body (along with the rest of the world) have seen this display of protesting through TV screens and even with their own eyes during a game.

“It’s on TV all the time. Everyone is talking about what players kneeled, how they did it, all that, but it’s cool because all of us get to see what’s happening first-hand without even being there,” sophomore cheerleader Brecken Mellen said.

A definite fact is that this is receiving a lot of attention, as people like LeBron James and Donald Trump have expressed their thoughts through Twitter, Instagram, and press conferences. But what you don’t see are the masses that are behind this movement.

“There are tons of people behind this. There are NFL players who don’t receive media attention doing it, MLB players along with a few NHL players on top of the numerous amounts of high school and college students who have done it as well. It’s turning into a normality,” varsity basketball player West Weichert said.

The protests are more commonly disliked amongst our population at Dripping Springs High School, but to the few who stand for it, it is a true beacon for hope and change.

“I think the protests are a wonderful thing. It forces people to open their minds and look at what people must go through every day in our world,” head men’s basketball, coach Craig Swannack, said.

To the other side, the one which disapproves of kneeling, this protest is displaying obvious disrespect to the United States and its flag.

“I think that they are protesting about something that is appropriate, but at the same time I think it shows a disrespect to our country along with the flag and our military,” football coach, Ben Reid, said.

Despite the obvious differences, both sides have seemed to agree that there is one thing this protest is missing and that is unity.

“There’s a definite problem and that is that the players are not protesting together,” Weichert said. “I don’t think that the message is even getting across due to the fact that half the players are kneeling with their heads bowed while the other half is singing along to the National Anthem. They must do everything as a team.”

The view from a coach is the most optimal that this situation could have, as coaches are often the direct contact through the media as to what’s going on. NFL coaches, like Mike Tomlin of the the Pittsburgh Steelers and Mike McCarthy of the Green Bay Packers, have voiced their thoughts, and now Dripping Springs coaches have come out with their own opinions as well.

“It’s a tough situation that we’re in as coaches, and I feel like it’s ultimately up to the coaching staff to determine what goes on during the national anthem, but whatever makes sense to the team as a whole should be done,” head football coach Galen Zimmerman said.

This situation quickly became corrupted through the use of social media, with the athletes taking a knee and then people fighting over it through their screens, leading to people feeling like they’re being treated unfair. The world seems to spin a different way every day, but like Weichert summed up, we should all be in this together.

Written By Rigley Willis