Football player speaks about National Anthem protest

Salekri Sayeh

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That was one of the mild things/threats that the football team heard/received.

As you may know, I am one of the players on the Watkins Mill football team that took a knee for the past three games in protest of social injustice and inequality in America. I just want to take some time to give my take on the entire situation as a player.

To start, I am very thankful for the support we have gotten from not only our school, but from other schools around the county.

First, the team is not looking at what Colin Kaepernick did and just copying him. I believe he was just the first, and we took that and decided what he was doing to raise awareness was right. America is not what it should be, not what the anthem says. Many African American males are being treated unfairly and pretty harshly by the police, some for things they did not do.

Just recently another unarmed black man lost his life to a gunshot by a police officer. He was on his way from a class and his car broke down. Next thing you know he was laying on the ground, shot dead.

“He was reaching for a gun,” the officer said. How many times will we hear this excuse? At this point I feel as if a African American even moves his finger near and officer  will say he was “reaching for a gun” and he will be shot. When will America realize that not every black male owns a gun or is dangerous?

Another recent incident happened when a male was committing an oh so horrible crime, driving while black.

Keith Scott was pulled over by a policeman, things escalated and we lost another innocent black life. I am young, black and about to get my license. Should I have to be worried that when I drive that there is a possibility I could end up dead? The fact that I must be worried about that shows the problems we face as a society today.

Back to our school, when Damascus High School students started threatening us and saying rude comments, all I could think was “Wow, we really have people like this living just down the road from us.” Some of whom I even took the field against.

I understand some people may not agree with our decision, but there was no reason for our school to be verbally attacked. Even on the field during the game they could not leave it alone. Every time Damascus scored the players would yell “USA” or “AMERICA”.

We may be in the same geographical location, just 15 minutes away from each other. But their America is different from the America we live in.

So before you criticize our decision, take a look at all the reasons for what it stands for. We do not kneel for our school or community, it’s much bigger than that. We kneel to raise awareness in America and around the world.

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