US Gold Medalist Faces Disciplinary for Taking Knee During National Anthem | 22 Words

The United States is built on freedoms that make it one of the best places to live on Earth. But recently, the cracks in the foundations are beginning to show. The whole world can't help but seem to notice flaws in the way our country is governed and with every bit of news released, I can't help but get more disappointed.

So it's no wonder why people have decided they want to stand against these flaws. We've seen our fair share of public protests and we might as well add this one to the list. The United States gold medal-winning fencer Race Imboden has hit the headlines for taking "the knee" during the national anthem during the Pan-Am Games and the whole of the internet is losing their minds.

Keep reading to find out the whole story including the possible consequences Imboden may be facing.

Political statements can be made in so many different ways.

From violent protests to peaceful marches to online forums, political statements have been a long-standing part of American history.

And none have been more impactful than taking "the knee."

In sports, it seems like the best way to stand against the harmful values of the country is to take the knee during the national anthem.

What is taking "the knee?"

Well, this method of protest is a public political statement wherein one kneels down during the national anthem or during the raising of the country's flag. And before you go crazy over the "disrespectful" action, let me explain to you why it occurs.

In 2016, NFL legend Colin Kaepernick decided he had had enough.

The footballer first established the birth of this political protest during the Super Bowl. During the national anthem, Kaepernick decided he would sit on the bench to make a statement against the cruel treatment against African American citizens.

However, just sitting on the bench seemed to go unnoticed...

It didn't make as big of an impact as he had hoped. So instead, he decided to take things one step further. Rather than disappearing behind the crowds, where no one would bat an eyelid, he decided to publicly kneel down on the ground during the entire length of the anthem.

And obviously, that did not go unnoticed.

Fans watched him and wondered what he was doing. And as time passed, more and more footballers joined in with the peaceful protest to show solidarity.

"Why are you kneeling?"

When asked, this is what Kaepernick had to say: "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of colour," Kaepernick said in a press conference after first sitting out during the anthem. “To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."

People were divided, to say the least.

via GIPHY

On one hand, we had those who believed that the footballers were being disrespectful to the flag. By kneeling, it meant that they were standing against the country.

While others believed that it is a movement that needs to be recognized.

For those who could empathize with why Kaepernick started this protest in the first place, this was the chance to get their voices heard. Someone, who had a massive platform was finally speaking out for their rights. It was not meant to be a disrespectful middle finger towards the country as a whole, more so the harmful way it is being governed.

Keep scrolling to see the full-length video of the Dallas Cowboys and their owner, Jerry Jones, taking the knee.

Trump seems to have made the whole situation worse and because of his comments towards the NFL, more footballers are now deciding to take the knee as a way of showing him that they will not be silenced.

And we should not be adding or taking away from the movement.

I see so many people ignoring the hierarchical problems in the States. You can ignore the problem as much as you want, but that's what got us here in the first place. Race seems to define people in the country. The paler you are, the higher social status you seem to hold and that's just a fact.

That is why this protest was needed.

Police brutality has been a constant part of American culture but you've probably not realized because you're not black. You don't have to walk around fearing for your life every time you see a cop on the streets. Black people are treated less favorably in the eyes of the law.

Thousands of videos have emerged, showing just how cruel police are towards young, black boys.

Over the past couple of years, multiple numbers of young, black boys have been shot by the police in very common misconduct cases and most of the investigations into their deaths have been closed with no charges pressed against the criminals.

And it seems as if things aren't getting any better for the United States.

With multiple mass shootings occurring within the past couple of weeks, the cracks in the foundations are only getting deeper.

That is one of the reasons why US gold medalist decided to carry on the legacy.

During the medal ceremony of the Pan-Am Games, gold medalist fencer Race Imboden decided he would take the knee on the podium instead of standing with the rest of the fencers.

He then released this post to explain why he did it:

In a detailed Tweet, the fencer outlined the reasons as to why he decided to take the knee and as much as we some may hate to admit it, but he's right.

He then continued :

In a follow-up tweet, the Us representative decided to call out the President for "spreading hate."

And as you can imagine, these two tweets stirred up some controversy.

Some people were completely against what he had done, saying he "disgraced the country" and should be kicked off the team.

But these comments were scarce.

It seems as if most people stand by Imboden including veterans.

This also brings up the debate about "free speech."

Just because what Imboden has to say may not completely align with your own beliefs, doesn't mean it can't be said. This clause is also one of the main reasons our very own Presiden gets away with the nonsense he spews out every single day.

The main difference is that Imboden's intentions are not the same as Trump's.

Trump likes to ignore the dreadful social problems embedded with the country, while people like Imboden recognize that there is room for improvement in certain aspects. It doesn't mean he is "against" the country or the flag, he is simply calling it out for what it is.

If racists can exist, so can those who stand against them.

Ain't this the truth?

We stand with you.

We stand against racism, bigotry and hatred.

However, despite his bravery, it seems like Imboden will be facing some serious consequences.

With every action comes a reaction. And it seems as if the organizers of the games weren't too happy with the statement made by the athlete.

Apparently, it goes against the contracts signed by all US athletes before the games.

This contract states that they will not "make remarks or release propaganda of political, religious or racial nature, or any other kind."

Mark Jones, the USPOC spokesman released a statement:

He explained that all the athletes must agree to certain terms and conditions if they wish to participate in the games including displaying any political statements. He also said that the committee respects his rights to express his beliefs but is disappointed that he didn't honor his commitment. That's a bit of a clashing statement, Jones... To put it simply, he said: "Well done for expressing your beliefs but we're going to punish you for it."

Imboden wasn't the only one to stage a peaceful protest at the games.

Gwen Berry, a US hammer thrower, raised her fist at the end of the national anthem to stand against the cruel treatment of African American citizens in the United States.

She also faced the same consequences as Imboden.

Talking to USA Today, this is what Berry had to say on the matter: "I love representing my country. America is a great country. It’s the best country in the world. However, what we are standing for right now, it is complete and utter – it’s extreme injustice."

The punishments both athletes will face has not yet been decided...

But it could impact their chances of competing in next year's Olympics.

But as most athletes have said, this is bigger than just a "game."

Watch this video of the Dallas Cowboys and Jerry Jones standing up for black lives. This is a revolution that goes way beyond just one athlete or one team. This is a national dilemma that needs to be recognized and rectified and the only way we can do this is by standing behind those who are advocating for change.