Kneeling During the National Anthem: Lessons from a High School Football Team

In recent years, the act of kneeling during the national anthem has become a hot topic of debate in the United States. It all began when former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick decided to take a knee during the anthem to protest police brutality.

His peaceful protest quickly gained momentum and spread throughout the country, with many supporters joining him by kneeling during the anthem. However, this act also faced criticism from those who see it as a sign of disrespect to the nation they hold dear.

A High School Team Takes a Stand

The debate surrounding kneeling during the national anthem extends beyond professional football. Let’s take a closer look at an incident that occurred at Monroe High School in New Jersey. In a display of unity with Kaepernick’s cause, members of the football team decided to kneel during the anthem before one of their games. Little did they know that this act would draw a strong response from the game’s referees.

The Referees’ Reaction

The referees for the game were Ernie Lunardelli, 54, and Anthony Lunardelli, 27. When they witnessed the players kneeling during the anthem, they couldn’t hide their dissatisfaction. Outspoken in his opposition, Ernie Lunardelli voiced his concerns about the choice of the pregame ceremony as a venue for such a protest.

While acknowledging everyone’s freedom to express themselves, he believed that this particular time should be dedicated solely to the spirit of the game. In accordance with his commitment to the league’s commissions, Ernie, accompanied by his son, decided to leave the field.

Unexpected Change in Personnel

With the Lunardellis’ departure, two cadets from the chain crew took over as referees. This unexpected switch, however, created further controversy. Ernie Lunardelli expressed his belief that the game’s credibility had been called into question due to the change in personnel. In fact, he even sought legal assistance to protest the decision made by the game officials.

A Reflection of Diverse Viewpoints

The incident at Monroe High School is a stark example of the range of viewpoints surrounding the act of kneeling during the national anthem. While many support Kaepernick’s cause and see it as an important way to raise awareness about societal problems, others feel that it undermines their patriotism and love for the country.

The Power of Sports in Addressing Societal Issues

As the nation grapples with the complexities of this ongoing debate, it is important to recognize the power of sports as a platform for addressing polarizing societal problems. Often viewed as a unifying force, sports have the potential to bring attention to critical issues and spark meaningful dialogue.