Five Years Later: How Does NPHS Feel About Taking a Knee?


Michael Henry, staff writer

Five years ago, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kapernick, kneeled during the national anthem in protest of racial inequality and police brutality. In the following year, Kapernick was ousted from the National Football League (NFL) and has yet to return. His actions served as a catalyst for support on social justice and gave other athletes motivation to use their platforms in order to spark change. The sports industry is now filled with athletes such as Lebron James voicing their opinions on social justice.

As the years have progressed, people’s opinions on athletes protesting have changed in correlation to the outcry for social justice throughout the world. The students of NPHS have distinct opinions on the events and its aftermath.

Many students feel that athletes are entitled to their rights and the actions they take are justified by the constitution.

Sophomore Andrew Van Buskirk, said: “They are just like every other citizen, and it’s basically in their rights as Americans.”

Another sophomore, Jack Cropper, enthusiastically stated: “Absolutely, I think [athletes] do. They are a public figure and they have rights like everyone else does.”

While most students agree that athletes have the right to speak out, some disagree about the actions they take, especially when controversies around their protests impact teammates and organizations negatively. 

Freshman Brandon Maneely, said:  “I think they should have the right, but not in that extreme way,  not in a way that’s so controversial to the rest of the community and to everyone else.”

When Kapernick protested social justice, a large amount of attention was thrust onto him and his ideas. Five years later, the complete effect of his actions are still being questioned.

Many view the protest as a messenger that relayed social justice throughout the world.

Van Buskirk said: “It served as a symbol to people and was a really big event.”

Lauren Venturella stated: “I definitely do think it made a change, as it became more commonplace to protest. It’s a chain reaction, more people definity [protest] now”

Although Kapernick knelt five years ago, his actions inspired a wave of protest and change that has rippled through the nation, the effects of which we still feel today.He inspired a new generation of activists for social justice and showed athletes and other public figures what they could accomplish with their platforms.