Colin Kaepernick, the former quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers, was the one who began the custom of kneeling during the National Anthem ceremony at the start of games, rather than the customary standing, with hand or hat held over the heart. This was done in recognition of injustices toward African Americans, including the abundance of black deaths at the hands of police related to the black proportion of citizens in the country. In the past few weeks, as part of the increasing protest marches related to George Floyd’s death due to kneeling on his neck by a police officer, along with years of other wrongs toward African Americans, kneeling has again taken a prominent part.
Since the action was taken by Kaepernick, I’ve wanted to bring to attention the fact that kneeling is a sign of respect, not disrespect. It may be different from what we’ve all learned to do at a US flag ceremony, and it is trying to communicate something in addition, namely that injustice toward the black population does exist and needs correction, so it’s a sign of respect toward the black population too. But still, it’s a sign of respect, and I wish everyone, not least Donald Trump, would recognize and give voice to that.