In protest of the Jason Stockley verdict, the Junior Comanches youth football team from Cahokia turned its back on the American flag and knelt during the playing of the National Anthem prior to a game in Belleville’s Citizen Park on Sept. 17.
The social media reaction on the News-Democrat Facebook page varied from those in support of the action to those strongly opposed.
Some readers viewed the action as freedom of expression; others were angered by what they perceived to be disrespect to the United States and those who have fought and given their lives to protect it.
What do you think?
Join the conversation by commenting on the News-Democrat’s Facebook page, or email a letter to the editor about this topic to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kim Ingram received more than 65 reactions with this comment: “It’s their right to do so! They aren’t disrespecting vets.. or the flag.. the very ppl that fight for this country fight for our right to stand or sit .. no one forced them.. it was their decision and because u don’t like it doesn’t make it illegal they aren’t leaving the country so those who feel the need to say “if u don’t like it here then leave” um save it.. newsflash u don’t have to like what they do .. or how they protest the very reason ppl are sitting probably doesn’t affect you or your life at all.. remember they are just as American as u.. so all u whiners please SHUTUP no one cares lol”
In response to Ingram’s comment, Jason Bartholomew wrote: “Being a vet, I understand what you say. The problem isn’t that it disrespects us, it is the etiquette we have been taught that it disrespects.”
Also in response to Ingram’s comment, Steven Estaban Anton wrote: “Kim is correct. People don’t get to choose what rights a person chooses to express. I served my country for a person’s right to stand just as much as i served for a person’s right to kneel. You don’t have to agree but it’s a right either way.”
Stacey Ryan Fournier wrote: “Do you also think Hitler’s Youth was acceptable? This is very similar. Practically brainwashing eight year old little kids that really aren’t making the decision to kneel all on their own and aren’t mature enough to know or understand the politics behind it.”
Voncile Stone wrote: “Just how much do 8 year olds understand about the sacrifices many good men and women of all races and walks of life having given so that they can live in a country that gives them many freedoms and rights! This behavior is being reinforced by their parents, community, and the coaches! Learning this young to be disrespectful to our Country is not going to make them good, smart, successful or responsible members of society! If the Flag that has given them so much is so offensive, then perhaps the benefits, education and other things they receive should by the country that the Flag represents needs to end as well! Turning your back on your country out of hate and destruction does not work...really feel sorry for those kids! Instead of being taught to work hard, get an education, stay off drugs, develope their minds and talents so they can embrace their future..they are being taught to hate, defy and condemn others! That will ultimately not end well for them or society!”
Todd Horn Jr. wrote: “Its called respect and doing the right thing! I dont have to slam the brakes when your kid runs out into the street do i? No. But i do because its the right thing to do. Just like respecting our nations flag is the right thing to do. They’re teaching these kids that disrespect is ok. Its pathetic.”
Cindy Lee Brockmeier wrote: “Id like to know WHY those children took a knee. I understand a grown ups right to do so, they know why they do it....but these kids? Do they know WHY they are doing it? Or is it because a coach told them to? Not only taking a knee but turning their backs on the flag. I would have walked right out there and snatched my kid right off that field! He can kneel when he understands WHY hes kneeling. At 8 years old? NOPE!”
Tim Tole received more than 22 reactions for this comment, which appears to have been deleted: “It affects these boys lives. These boys aren’t thinking for themselves. They were either told or are emulating disrespect. Don’t want to stand for the ceremonies? Then stay in the locker room until they are over.”
In an apparently deleted comment, Chris Woolverton wrote: “And Kim what about the ugly huge elephant in the room that no one will talk about called black culture? Teach your kids to respect authority and police and the outcome might be much different. Black people are not taught to respect police. There is a trend I’m seeing that involves black criminals getting killed but I don’t see the black community denouncing this behavior. I also don’t see any black comments on this feed denouncing the children being taught to disrespect. See a trend here? No, the problem is not with white police but rather black culture and a lack of fatherly presence in these kids lives!”
Rebecca Rogers wrote: “They are kids, true enough. But with today’s constant media coverage, internet and social media, kids are much more aware of social issues in today’s world. The news article states they had a discussion about it and made the choice to exercise their rights and kneel. Good for those kids for taking a stance regarding their beliefs. Future leaders come from the younger generations. One of my favorite quotes is “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything”. Even if you don’t agree with or even understand their choice, respect them for it.”
Bob Cook wrote: “The coach should be fired. And the football team should be dissolved. They are to young to be taught this. They want to make a point. So should the school.”
Elaine Hall, a relative of one of the players had this to say: “I see kneeling of the flag really pissed y’all off now you see how we feel sounds cruel but that’s my grandson in the picture he understands a lot of what’s going on in the world today all these hideous remarks shame on y’all could go deeper but im not!!!!wow”
David Lintz wrote: “What a sad testimony to the absence of leadership around those kids. What problems are they helping the kids solve? Why don’t they teach them meaningful and valuable life skills? All they are teaching is how to make yourself a victim and blame others for your problems...very sad. Those kids deserve better than that.”
Mack Hill wrote: “When did we as a country lose our way? People are pissed off at something that’s been going on for decades. Nobody has ever stated in law or through the government that standing or kneeling during the anthem is wrong or right. It’s your choice. It shouldn’t be considered disrespectful because each way has a different meaning. And these kids are smart kids. They understand the way this country works more than some of you. Quit thinking your opinion is the only right way, because it’s not.”
Karla Stine Ragsdale wrote: “To me, the real issue is “the team”! Sports players, are not individuals once they put on their uniform. As soon as you join a team, when you are wearing that uniform, you represent that as one entire unit. If it is a professional team, you represent the owners, and the owner should be able to dictate your behavior on the field. The same holds true for school sports. Once these children put on their uniform, they represent the school and therefore the school should be able to dictate acceptable behavior while in that uniform. It doesn’t have to do with legalities or rights. It is evident, to me, that these children have backing and influence buy adults, otherwise the leader of the team is not doing their job by making it clear how the team is allowed to represent the school. No they don’t have to leave the country, but when they are wearing the uniform they do have to represent their school and the school should be able to dictate how they do that or they can leave the team”