Star Spangled Knees

By Brandon Bean

The Charter News

You all have heard about demonstrations for equal rights in your history books, but what about a protest that could change the future for African Americans in 2016?

It all started in the National Football League (NFL). It has trickled down to high schools around the nation, but not yet in Oregon City. At a recent game, no players were observed taking a knee.

Aiden Van Riper, an Oregon City High School football player, said, “I have never encountered a protest during a football game.” However, four students from North Portland’s Lincoln High School have taken a knee and rose their fists skyward during the National Anthem. This protest is similar to that of Bronco Linebacker Brandon Marshall and 49ers Quarterback, Colin Kaepernick.

In fact, all over the country, NFL players, including Marshall and Kaepernick, have taken a knee during the National Anthem during two games thus far as a means to protest against the unjust treatment of African Americans, not without some controversy.

In one such scenario, found through, Marshall returned to his locker after a miraculous victory, and retrieved his phone. He soon discovered that the phone had a rather unpleasant surprise. Since he had stored his phone prior to the start of the game, Marshall had received 143 messages. Marshall said that the Bronco’s media relations staffer pulled him aside after the game to warn him, “Don’t even look at your twitter messages. There’s gonna be a lot of hate.”

Although the law states that citizens should participate in the requirements of U.S Code 301, the National Constitution Center states that  “players (of the NFL) are encouraged but not required to stand during the playing of the national anthem”. Because of this, players who take a knee during the national anthem cannot be faced with penalties such as league sanctions, as such a protest is seen as an exercise of the first constitutional amendment.

SideBar Story

As stated by the Cornell University of Law, U.S code 301 states that “(a)Designation.—

The composition consisting of the words and music known as the Star-Spangled Banner is the national anthem.

(b)Conduct During Playing.—During a rendition of the national anthem—

(1)when the flag is displayed—


individuals in uniform should give the military salute at the first note of the anthem and maintain that position until the last note;


members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute in the manner provided for individuals in uniform; and


all other persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, and men not in uniform, if applicable, should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart; and


when the flag is not displayed, all present should face toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed.

(Pub. L. 105–225, Aug. 12, 1998, 112 Stat. 1263; Pub. L. 110–417, [div. A], title V, § 595, Oct. 14, 2008, 122 Stat. 4475.)”

Sources Cited:

Knoblauch, By Austin. “Brandon Marshall Takes Knee during National Anthem.” N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Oct. 2016.  (10/17 – 19/16)

“Broncos Linebacker Brandon Marshall Takes Knee during National Anthem.” USA Today. Gannett, n.d. Web. 14 Oct. 2016.  (10/17 – 19/16)

Tegna. “Lincoln HS Football Players Kneel, Raise Fists during National Anthem.” KGW. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Oct. 2016.    (10/17 – 19/16)    (10/17 – 19/16)      (10/17 – 19/16)      (10/17 – 19/16)