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Protesting During the Pledge of Allegiance/National Anthem:

Protesting During the Pledge of Allegiance/National Anthem Presented by Callie Waldrup


History Protesting during the pledge and National Anthem has occurred as early as 1968. During the 1968 Olympics, two black medal winners (John Carlos and Tommie Smith) put their fists up during the National Anthem as a way of protesting for human rights. Three white Australian athletes wore human rights badges as a way of protesting with them. All athletes were ostracized, and were banned from the Olympics. John Carlos and Tommie Smith with their fists up, Peter Norman with HR badge.

Current Examples:

Current Examples Though many individual protests during the pledge/National Anthem have happened since the 1968 Olympics, the most prominent of protests are the 2016 protests. These protests began when NFL player Colin Kaepernick sat during the anthem. When asked about his protest he said, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” He also stated that he will continue to protest until the American flag represents what it’s supposed to represent. At his next game, he opted to kneel instead of sitting. He did this to show more respect to former and current U.S. military members while still protesting. Fellow football players, and now other sports players, have joined in on protesting as well. Some protesters opt for raising their fists (much like the 1968 Olympics) or locking arms with their teammates.


Reactions Support Many music artists have been seen wearing Kaepernick jerseys, and replicas of his jersey are the top-selling items on the NFL’s website. Veterans voiced their support in interviews and by using the hashtag “veterans for Kaepernick .” Backlash Sports fans have posted videos of them burning any protesting athletes jerseys. Boomer Esiason , a former NFL MVP, called Kaepernick’s actions “an embarrassment.” An anonymous NFL executive called Kaepernick “a traitor.” Several athletes’ sponsors dropped them after they took part in protest.

Other Reactions:

President Obama responded to these protests, stating that Kaepernick and others were exercising their constitutional right. He went on to say: “I think [ Kaepernick ] cares about some real, legitimate issues that have to be talked about. … He’s generated more conversation about issues that have to be talked about.” Many students across the country have chosen to protest during the Anthem or the pledge. Though these students have not been punished, some schools require students to obtain written parental permission before kneeling during the anthem. ( Tinker v. Des Moines in 1969 stated that it is unconstitutional to punish students for protesting. This means a school cannot force students to participate in the pledge or Anthem. This does not apply to private schools.) Other Reactions

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