A high school baseball team in Iowa is making headlines not for its performance on the field but for taking a knee as a form of protest.
The entire Des Moines Roosevelt baseball team kneeled Monday during the national anthem, taking a cue from former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his protest over policy brutality.
Four years after the former 49ers quarterback took a knee, protests have broken out around the world after the death of George Floyd and others such as Breonna Taylor, who was killed during a shootout when police served a no-knock search warrant at her apartment.
Steve McConkey of the sports ministry 4 WINDS USA says he supports the right of the baseball team to kneel but he also believes they should remain standing for the flag and the nation anthem.
"You have the right but I think it shows a disrespect for the United States, where you have freedom to kneel,” he says. “But at the same time it's just not a good idea. There are better ways to solve the problem.”
Kaepernick was widely condemned for his kneeling protest, which was called disrespectful and unpatriotic toward the U.S. armed forces. He was also blasted for his “Cops are Pigs” socks that he wore at a team practice, and he supported and defended the then-beginning Black Lives Matter movement.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color, Kaepernick told reporters at the time.
"No disrespect to the flag," Roosevelt senior Alex Pendergast told an NBC affiliate on Monday. "It's simply to bring attention to the issues at hand, and I think we did the right thing."
Regarding the kneeling baseball players, McConkey tells OneNewsNow he is concerned about peer pressure and punishment: What it a player disagrees with his teammates and refuses to kneel?
Such a scenario, in fact, would flip Kaepernick's defiance at a time when corporations, celebrities, and media outlets are praising Black Lives Matter.
"They're going to be put through a character test,” McConkey says of those defiant athletes, “and I don't like it."