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DM Football Calls for Unity, Links Arms

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On Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017, the Dwight Morrow Raiders took the field, ready to take on the Paramus Spartans at Paramus High School. The team was charged up to win after a previous loss. As the National Anthem was being played, all the players, both junior varsity and varsity, linked their arms together to protest against racially driven police brutality, a cause many football teams in the NFL have stood behind by kneeling during the Anthem, and against comments made by President Donald Trump about the national protest.

“The team linking together showed the unity needed to fight against these problems,” captain Quanzie Lumsden explained.

The trend of kneeling during the playing of the National Anthem was started by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, when in September of 2016, he took a knee in protest of police brutality.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Mr. Kaepernick was reported as saying according to the NFL, explaining his motive for his peaceful protest that turned the world upside down.

Although this caused controversy and tension among fans,  Mr. Kaepernick pointed out that his intent was not to disrespect troops or be “anti-military” but rather to create a discussion about race relations in America. The NFL protest started to become widespread nationwide as more players started to kneel after September 24, 2017, in response to President Donald Trump announcing that NFL team coaches should fire the protesting players who were “disrespecting the heritage.”

DMAE Football Team at the pep rally.This turn of events caused the protests to shift from police brutality and racial injustice to protests against Trump restraining their use of freedom of speech. Teams around America, high school, college, and national levels, protested in similar ways to show their unity against one common enemy; oppression. Players have sat, stayed in the locker room, knelt, and linked arms as the National Anthem was being performed before a game.

DMAE Football Team at the pep rally

The message of unity for a cause was what the Dwight Morrow football team was hoping to achieve as well.

“Us linking our arms for the whole anthem really allowed us to voice our opinion and I think we’re going to do it for the rest of the season,”  said Quanzie firmly.

Linking arms was the idea inspired by the Chicago Bears and the New England Patriots, as a way of not disrespecting the flag by kneeling but still bringing light to the serious issues that the NFL wants their fans and everyone around them to know.

The seniors on the team decided to join the protest to show their support for both ending racial injustice and banding together against Trump, one team at a time. The captains, George Garrison, Andrew Jones, Quanzie Lumsden, and Malachi McFadden, felt strongly about the issue but asked permission from the coaches before doing anything to prevent any tension or controversy.

The team hopes that the issues of police brutality and racial injustice towards African Americans and people of color will one day stop as America comes together to fix it. The Raiders, lead by head coach Sean O’Connor, hope all of their fans and fellow classmates will support them and actually be aware of the issues that are being ignored by many Americans and even the president himself.

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