Girls soccer takes action, kneels for national anthem

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Senior Olivia Lagos controls the ball against Washburn High School.

While sports teams may be rivals on the field, their morals aren’t always in disagreement, as shown by the concurrent racial and gender inequalities bringing players from different groups and clubs together. Just recently, the SPA Girls Varsity soccer team and their opponents, Minnehaha, took a knee right before their game to protest racial injustices. In the sports world, kneeling during the national anthem is a typical sign of protest against society’s imbalances. However, there is still an underlying uncertainty of whether high school athletes should take a knee during the national anthem. The term patriotic has been redefined in this age; standing during the national anthem conveys support for the country and everything it stands for. Bond explains, “Some people find kneeling disrespectful towards veterans who fought for our country,” when questioned further, she responds, “I don’t know why we don’t kneel for every soccer game, it’s more of a team decision.” Players are uncertain of a concrete reason for not kneeling. Some are afraid of offending people, while others are caught up in normalizing the routine before soccer games.

Kneeling during the national anthem is a way to recognize the inequalities in American society, specifically in regards to the racial injustices that have been systematically implicated into society.”

— Junior Lucie Bond

Within professional sports, many athletes have taken a knee during the national anthem. In 2016, Colin Kaepernick first knelt on the sidelines to protest social injustice and police brutality. After years of backlash, football players have been influenced to use his tactic. Various athletes, not just professionals, used their platform to advocate for BLM and speak out against injustices in their society. With the death of George Floyd, the issue has once again become prevalent, leading athletes all over the United States to take a knee during the national anthem. There was a lot of controversy surrounding the topic, as Floyd’s death placed people on the side of a firm yes or no for the tactic. The people who agreed used this tactic in silent protest of his treatment. The issue remains a dominant topic of discussion, and players realize the intersectionality of race, gender, sexuality, etc. The Girls Varsity soccer team wants to ensure that everyone on the team is comfortable taking a knee, presenting a united front, and a unified team.