Many are too young to drive; they are all too young to vote.

They can’t decide what school to attend or what foods they can eat in the cafeteria.

They can’t participate in after-school clubs or sports without parental permission.

And yet, minor athletes at public schools are being encouraged and possibly even forced to make a controversial political statement at a school event in the community.

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Less than two-weeks after now-back-up quarterback Colin Kaepernick, of the San Francisco 49ers, chose to turn the opening of the NFL season into a publicity event for himself and his fading career, young student athletes – minors – are following his example and refusing to stand as their school’s marching band plays the national anthem.

Kaepernick has been in the NFL since 2011, but suddenly discovered a “deeply-felt” concern about oppression and police brutality against blacks in America that coincided with the humiliating loss of his starting position to an obscure back-up after a once-promising career began to deteriorate after a series of disappointing seasons and injuries.

After the news media and Twitterverse erupted – and Kaepernick got the attention he so obviously desired – linebacker Brandon Marshall of the defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos and college teammate of Kaepernick followed suit.

On the first day of the season, the 15th anniversary of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, more pro players did the same, with several raising a fist in the Black Panther salute.

Now, the disrespect has filtered down to schools.

Students in Beaumont, Texas – 11 and 12-year-olds did not stand for the national anthem.

Kids in Minneapolis, Norfolk, Virginia and Rockford, Illinois did the same.

Coach Preston Brown of Woodrow Wilson High in Philadelphia informed the team that he would take a knee during the national anthem, encouraging them to do the same.

To kids of that age, their coach is second only to their parents in terms of influence, making it unlikely that a player would refuse.

What about locker room peer pressure – what happens to the player who makes his own decision and stands for the anthem?

Do they even know what they are doing – or why?

Could any one of them explain how refusing to stand for the national anthem will improve race relations in their country?

Is it being discussed in Social Studies class? Is it being debated in Speech class?

Or are they just being used as pawns by angry adults?

 

 

 

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