When Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the National Anthem back in 2016, he created a stir throughout the country.
Now, a local college in Pennsylvania is exploring the conversation with a symposium discussing whether or not taking a knee was unpatriotic of the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback.
“We kneel at the grave of our fallen comrades. We kneel when we propose. You know, it’s common to kneel. We kneel before royalty. We kneel in church, so we generally tend to kneel as an act of respect, as an act of appreciation [and] not an insult,” Kevin Boon, Associate Professor of English, Penn State Mont Alto, said.
So why is there so much controversy surrounding athletes kneeling during the National Anthem to protest police violence against African Americans?
Penn State Mont Alto held a symposium to address just that, discussing whether or not taking the knee is unpatriotic
“The kneeling had nothing to do with veterans. Where it was chosen to kneel and under what circumstances they chose to kneel had nothing to do with veterans. It has nothing really to do with patriotism,” Boon said.
“He knelt for a reason that needed to be talked about, and I appreciate that,” Elven Acolatse, a student and panelist at Penn State Mont Alto, said.
The four panelists agreed that it was not unpatriotic and that there are racial injustices that need to be addressed in this county.
Acolatse was the only African American on the panel, and he was surprised at how much they all agreed on.
“I came in expecting them to be against me. I expected there to be maybe one person on my side, and everybody else was attacking my points, but everybody agreed on the same points,” Acolatse said.
Some argued that it was not the right time or place, while others argued that Kaepernick should use his platform to bring attention to these issues.
Pennsylvania State Representative Paul Schemel and the president of Penn State Mont Alto’s student veterans club were among some of the panelists.