Football players kneeling during the national anthem has become extremely controversial.
Texas Wesleyan Athletic Director Steve Trachier said he has mixed emotions about the subject.
“I have three brothers who served in the armed forces and were honored with military funerals,” said Trachier, who is also head women’s basketball coach. “I believe everyone has constitutional rights and can exercise those rights. However, my concern is whatever message was trying to be conveyed through the act would be lost in the controversy.
“Kneeling during the national anthem can be a polarizing act. My personal belief is we should all find a way to peacefully voice our concerns in a respectful manner that unites people rather than divides people. Kneeling during the anthem, as we have seen in the NFL, is dividing people.”
Kneeling during the anthem is so controversial that several Wesleyan athletes declined to be interviewed about the subject. Those that were willing to talk have varying opinions.
Junior football player Brandon Reeves said he wouldn’t change his views on someone if they were to kneel during the anthem.
“I would respect anyone that knelt during the national anthem just like I respect anyone that fights for our country,” he said. “Respect is universal, kneeling is just a form of protest. No one should be bashed for exercising their rights.”
Senior volleyball player McKenzie Black said she believes that people are making the topic more controversial than it should be.
“Athletes using their sport to protest has been going on for decades,” she said. “I think the reason behind this protest or any misunderstanding of this protest has created more controversy because of political stances. People are making this topic more controversial than it should be.”
Reeves agrees with what Black said.
“I think people are mad for the wrong reasons on the topic,” he said. “That’s part of the problem.”
Trachier said he would want all of Wesleyan’s sports teams to meet and discuss any message the want to convey regarding if any athlete wants to kneel during the anthem.
“I believe it is possible to send a message in a way that does not offend people,” he said. “Many athletes use their visibility to voice opinions and have for many, many years. Many do so with their actions, as well, providing positive leadership in order to promote social change. Those are the athletes I most respect. Men and women of action.”