For Mikyl “Mickey” Fleming, there’s no doubt what he would do if given the opportunity: He would kneel during the national anthem.
“I am very passionate about this issue. I wouldn’t do it to disrespect the flag, I just want to take a stand in something I believe in to raise awareness,” Fleming says about the ongoing debate that started a year ago by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
The issue is on the minds of many athletes including those who attend Calumet College of St. Joseph.
Fleming is a 2016 graduate of CCSJ and a former member of the baseball team. He says that professional athletes like Kaepernick have a large following to create change in causes they believe in.
“A person like me doesn’t have a voice. If I start a protest, how many will actually follow me? Now when a professional athlete, someone who has a voice does it, it’s bound to get noticed and people will follow,” Fleming says.
But Fleming’s teammate Justin Rohrs feels just the opposite. In fact, Rohrs says he wouldn’t allow one of his teammates to kneel during the national anthem.
“I’m not against what the players are protesting. Things in our country are terrible right now and there should be people protesting. But to do it in this matter is flat-out disrespectful and disgraceful to our flag, whether you think so or not,” Rohrs said. “If I ever saw one of my teammates even think about kneeling, I’d pick them up and made sure they were standing.”
Joanna Drew stance on the issue is somewhere in the middle.
“I believe that if the constitution says they’re allowed to peacefully protest, then it’s their right. They’re making a statement for something they believe in,” Drew, a member of the CCSJ softball team, says. “And if that’s how they want to go about it, even if people, including myself, don’t agree with how they are protesting, then they have the right to do it.”
When asked if she would kneel for the anthem, Drew said that she would not, but that she knows others in the school would.
In a survey taken by 50 CCSJ athletes, they were asked if they thought kneeling during their sporting events should be allowed. The majority, 54%, of these athletes say that they should not be allowed to kneel, as opposed to 46% that either said they should be allowed to kneel, or are neutral on the subject.
These same 50 athletes were then asked if they would kneel during the national anthem during their games. An overwhelming 92% of them said that they would not kneel and the remaining 8% said that they will do it during their games this year.
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