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NJ High School Football Players, Coaches Take Knee For Anthem

While the intense debate over the National Anthem protests by NFL players has subsided for the most part, strong feelings remain on both sides of the issue. There are no winners to be found in this debate, but there are a whole lot of scars that have been left behind.

That’s true whether we’re talking about those that engage in such protests or those that are incredibly offended by them. All the while, there are plenty of side effects that get brushed aside.

From a big picture perspective, the protests have been done by fully grown men that have decided this is the best way for them to get their point across. Whether it’s the right way or the wrong way is irrelevant for the purposes of this discussion.

These men have the right to express themselves, and they are fully responsible for their actions. However, one of the side effects that gets brushed aside is an uncomfortable answer to the following question: How are the youngsters that look up to these grown men affected by their actions?

As NBC Philadelphia shares, students at this South Jersey high school appear to be right on board. Both players and coaches from the Woodrow Wilson Tigers took a knee while the anthem played before a recent game. Tigers coach Preston Brown told the team that he planned to take a knee during the anthem, but there’s no indication that he encouraged the team to do the same. Nonetheless, many players followed his lead.

So why was Brown taking a knee for the anthem? It appears that he’s upset over the third stanza of the anthem, which has existed in complete obscurity until recently. There have been calls to ban the anthem outright over the verse, and Brown felt inspired to kneel as a result.

“I am well aware of the third verse of the national anthem which is not usually sung, and I know that the words of the song were not originally meant to include people like me," he said.

From the perspective of those that are put off by anthem protests, the varying explanations for why folks decide to take a knee only exacerbates their angst. It seems to be a static explanation that changes from messenger to messenger.

We’ve had players that have claimed they are protesting law enforcement, others that have touted racial injustice, some that have expressed umbrage with President Donald Trump, and now opposition to the anthem itself.

All the while, the following message is being sent to young people: if you’re upset about something, take a knee. The fact that taking that knee does absolutely nothing towards changing what they are upset about is absent in the message. In this case, the coach became upset about a verse of the song that is never shared or sang.

His team followed suit. Nothing changed as a result, and that verse still exists in obscurity.

So is Brown going to be facing any consequences for his actions? Nope. The Camden City School District has his back. "Whether our students choose to stand, kneel, or otherwise, we're proud of their engagement with what is more broadly a very important social justice issue," a statement read in part.

Absent in that statement was the fact that kneeling or sitting for the anthem does not change anything.

Source: NBC Philadelphia
Photo: YouTube, Twitter

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