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.
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:
We must call for change. This week I am honored to represent Team USA at the Pan Am Games, taking home Gold and Br… https://t.co/4VhULaqWUs— Race Imboden (@Race Imboden)1565397674.0
He then continued :
and a president who spreads hate are at the top of a long list. I chose to sacrifie my moment today at the top of… https://t.co/9Bc8SRfMVo— Race Imboden (@Race Imboden)1565397676.0
And as you can imagine, these two tweets stirred up some controversy.
@USAFencing #protestnonsense. Race Imboden, another idiot athlete willing to disgrace America during ru ing a medal… https://t.co/klhZvnlCmA— va curry (@va curry)1565556819.0
But these comments were scarce.
@in_pubs @NRA #TakeAKnee We should all be taking a knee at any college or pro game As a protest 4 Social Justice wh… https://t.co/dXK1hyyq7Y— Air Force Pam 🇺🇸 Wears a MASK (@Air Force Pam 🇺🇸 Wears a MASK)1565450368.0
This also brings up the debate about "free speech."
@Race_Imboden honors the USA! He stands for all by taking a knee. A true American🇺🇸 https://t.co/dmFY6QfOAj— faithp (@faithp)1565493289.0
The main difference is that Imboden's intentions are not the same as Trump's.
notice how in sports when a player is injured on the field, other players take a knee. the same logic applies to th… https://t.co/N1NXReuhQb— emma🌿🌈🦋 (@emma🌿🌈🦋)1565552532.0
If racists can exist, so can those who stand against them.
Ironic that the same people who fly these flags get upset when Black athletes "disrespect our flag" by taking a kne… https://t.co/ULkjO7K0yM— Amish PornStar™ (@Amish PornStar™)1565113910.0
We stand with you.
@SethAbramson I stand with anyone taking a knee or in any form of silent protest against this govt., racism, hatred… https://t.co/IqZdc4jChC— jstein (@jstein)1565517046.0
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.
U.S. hammer thrower Gwen Berry raises her fist at the end of the national anthem at the Pan Am Games today. (h/t… https://t.co/kvCrOANjZH— Nick Zaccardi (@Nick Zaccardi)1565485031.0