Having UNE students take a knee during the national anthem before a sports event could cause quite an uproar on and off campus, as I’m sure you can imagine. People always talk about being able to speak our mind and say what we believe in but how would a student voicing their opinion affect the University. I believe the school should be somewhere that students feel they can voice their opinions and be heard, but at what point is the line drawn for how they speak their mind and who gets to draw the line. Is protesting while in UNE uniform too far? By a UNE student protesting in this type of way, we could see many issues amongst the University. A protest could put many things at risk like enrollment and operating budgets. One thing that could be affected would be how people’s opinion or view of the school may change. If the reputation of the school changes based on one of these protests it can pull us into bigger problems. UNE is a tuition driven school, this means that the schools money comes from tuition. If the reputation of the school is going downhill parents may not want to send their child here, or a student might not consider this as a choice if it has a bad reputation. With lower enrollment comes less money causing budget issues for the school meaning there could be very serious consequences in the future, money wise, which could lead to an overall downfall.
Protests in sports, such as the NFL, are becoming more popular. Athletes are using their platforms to speak out and at games they are protesting with acts like kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality. Looking at past protests, it is obvious that they don’t often get away without it being publicized. They also may end up taking a turn such as peaceful protests becoming not so peaceful. One example of this is from 2017 at a rally where people were protesting the removal of statues that people say remind us of a time of racism. While people were protesting, things began to get violent. One person drove through the crowd of people with their car killing one and injuring 19 others. The reporter informs people watching the news that it “descended into deadly violence and chaos” which is quite apparent with the diver who decided to plow his way through the crowds of people. In videos from the incident, you can also see white supremacists and counter protesters fighting using many different objects as weapons. I hope it is apparent how this would be a major problem at UNE. There are so many problems that could quite possibly arise if this happened at our university. To start, there are so many different people who would be involved. Students, parents, faculty, potential future students and their parents, coaches, community members, police, and many other people who may hear about this through publications in the paper, news, social media, etc. Social media plays a big role in these situations, especially with younger generations. So many people use some sort of social media and it is a very easy method of getting stuff out fast. Many pro athletes use their social media platforms to speak out about problems and protests. Athletes Brittney Griner and Layshia Clarendon spoke out about the Texas bill that would end with the result of transgender athletes not being protected while using the bathroom or any other changing area. They wanted to protest this bill because they don’t agree with it and they are trying to stand up for what they believe in. They said that “we feel it is our moral duty to use the platform we have been given to speak out” (Griner, Clarendon, 2). We now see how social media can play two different roles in these situations. It can be used to actively protest something but also to spread word about a protest whether it was peaceful or not.