Kneeling protests have been the topic of discussion for the past few weeks. The NFL has received backlash for players kneeling during the national anthem in protest to police brutality. Unfortunately, people are more outraged about the kneeling than they are about police brutality. Patriotic Americans have taken it as a protest against the American flag and disrespect towards our veterans. Many have called for boycotting the NFL. Players who participated have received death threats. The president has even suggested that they lose their jobs. One of the first NFL players to do it, Colin Kaepernick, was blackballed because of it.
Last Sunday, MDPAN went to Ford Field to kneel in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick and the other brave players. We divided into two groups. The inside group protested inside of the stadium, revealing a banner that read “Detroit Kneels with Kaepernick and the Lions” during the national anthem. The outside group protested at one of the nearby gates with signs like “Hold Killer Cops Accountable” and “Take a Knee Against Racial Injustice”. The outside group was met with hostility from Lions fans. One man repeatedly shouted “All Lives Matter” as a way to silence protesters. Another man argued that there was no point of kneeling and that we should be ashamed of ourselves for doing this during the national anthem. Many fans screamed, “Get a Job!” as they walked pass protesters. Some people were even disrespectful towards the veteran who protested with us. What happened to respect for our veterans?
Overall, I think we can say that the protest went pretty well. Although there were plenty of angry Lions fans, no violence occurred. Opposing sides protested at the other end of the stadium, but we never crossed paths. Everything remained peaceful.