As unpatriotic an act Colin Kaepernick first carried out when he refused to stand for the National Anthem, the real problem is that he’s now set a standard for others to follow. Setting this kind of example is the last thing that any public figure needs to be doing.
One coach has decided to let his team disrespect this nation and its anthem by having his entire line-up kneel in the same way that Kaepernick did. However, this team wasn’t comprised of NFL professionals or even high school kids, but rather 25 eight-year-olds, according to the Independent Journal Review.
Last Sunday, an entire St. Louis football team of 25 players, all eight years old or younger, took a knee rather than standing during the National Anthem – following the example that Kaepernick set for them.
Former Mizzou football player and coach of the team, Orlando Gooden, said that “one of the kids asked me if I saw (people) protesting and rioting in St. Louis. I said yes; I said, ‘Do you know why they are doing it?’” The response of the kid, according to the coach, was that “because black people are getting killed and nobody’s going to jail.”
Instead of explaining the reasoning or subtleties of the case, Gooden simply said that his 8-year-old players knew enough about the situation, and felt “like it was a good teaching moment for me to circle the team and have a meeting.”
Gooden then proceeded to explain why Kaepernick knelt in the first place, justifying the player’s actions to the team of young, impressionable children. In light of such an explanation, the eight-year-olds asked if they could all kneel as well, in which the coach responded that “as long as we know why we’re doing it, I don’t have a problem with any of it.”
Interesting how this coach felt there was nothing immoral or questionable about disrespecting the anthem as well as the nation, let alone teaching other children to do the same thing.
Oddly enough, Gooden said, “What I teach my kids is love, integrity, honesty, fairness, respect, and boundaries.” He continued, saying, “As long as I have the support of my parents and my team, I’m perfectly fine, and I’m covered under the First Amendment to peacefully protest and assemble.”
For the record, Gooden is entirely correct; the First Amendment does protect everyone’s right to say what they wish. Antifa, White Supremacists, and violent anti-capitalist Marxists have that same right as well. What they are not exempt from is the fair evaluation, rebuttal, and criticism of their ideas.
But the issue is this: 8-year-olds can’t fully grasp the complexities of these social problems. Instead, they often defer to the opinion of an authority figure, whether a parent, or, in this case, a teacher.
Colin Kaepernick’s unpatriotic anti-American protest has brought consternation upon the NFL and their ratings prove this point. Has Kaepernick’s protest hurt the NFL?
What Gooden is doing resembles a form of indoctrination, rather than telling them the truth. He could at least represent both sides of the perspective and encourage these kids to come to their own conclusions–to whatever extent an 8-year-old can understand such things.
Coaches, especially for teams of such young players, should keep politics out of sports and leave such things to parents.