From the headlines to the home games: Some SCHS football players kneel during the anthem to send a message


Vincent Nguyen

Players use their platform to kneel. (Pictured left to right: Tavon Ross, Racquel Blassingame, Nick Martinez, Eduardo Mora, Jericaih Papagayo, Seth Everett)

Former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was the star in Nike’s most recent “Just Do It” ad campaign, causing heavy backlash from critics who disagree with his kneeling activism during the national anthem. According to The New York Times, people across social media have been going as far as posting pictures and videos of themselves cutting or even burning their Nike products.

Not only has Kaepernick brought issues like police brutality to the forefront of politics, but he has also inspired athletes across the nation to make a statement by kneeling before games, an influence that has reached SCHS’s football team.

According to senior wide receiver Seth Everett, kneeling during the anthem came to the SCHS football team last year, and some players have been doing so ever since.

“I have the platform to be in front of hundreds of people and make a difference,” Everett said.

Everett, who is vice president of the Black Student Union, said he kneels to speak out against injustices in this country. Specifically, Everett strongly opposes racial profiling, stating that he and his family have found themselves in similar situations.

“There’s people dying in the street and for what?” Everett said. “Because you find yourself caught outside a liquor store or in your neighborhood and somebody decides to stereotype you? It affects my friends, my family — the people I care about.”

Similarly, junior defensive linemen Eduardo Mora kneels as a way of protesting President Donald Trump and the policies he has implemented since coming into office.

“It’s thinking about the people and all the wrong things he [the president] has done to Mexicans and other races,” Mora said. “When I kneel, I think about the children being separated from their families at the border.”

While there are a number of SCHS football players who purposely kneel during the national anthem, most of the school’s football team chooses to stand. Still, Mora said, the other players are respectful of each other’s opinions and political voice regardless of their own personal stances.

Though he does not kneel, senior quarterback Nick Garcia said he completely understands where his teammates are coming from with their actions, and he supports their decisions to kneel.

“I personally agree with them wanting to kneel if they have a reason to,” Garcia said. “If they feel like it’s not right to stand, I don’t have a problem with that.”

Yet students like Pradeep Kundu, who despite their support for bringing awareness to social issues, believes politics and football should stay separate.

“There is always a proper time and place for protests,” Kundu said.

SCHS College & Career Resource Technician Anthony Butler sees both sides of the argument. However, he wants students to understand what they are doing when they kneel during the national anthem.

“I grew up with a father who was a military vet and I was raised with a great respect for the flag,” Butler said. “If our students are kneeling, I just want them to know why they are kneeling. I don’t want them to get caught up in a fad.”