Friars Take a Knee During National Anthem

by The Cowl Editor on October 20, 2017


by Sarah Gianni ’18

News Staff

Nicholas Crenshaw ’20/The Cowl

Last year Colin Kaepernick, then a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, took a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality against black Americans. Since then, this form of protest has ignited conversation about race within the athletic sphere, as many athletes have followed Kaepernick’s action.

At Providence College, Wednesday, October 11 marked the kickoff for the first-ever Spirit Week in Friartown, beginning with the men’s soccer game against Brown University at Anderson Stadium. Not only was this the first game of the week leading up to Late Night Madness, but it was also the first time that a group of students demonstrated during the national anthem.

Adriel Antoine ’18, president of the NAACP chapter at PC said, “First  and foremost, this demonstration does not aim to disrespect the national anthem, American flag, or our troops.” He continued, “The purpose of this demonstration was to further a conversation about how to fix the issues of racism at PC, and what we can do as a school to address these issues on a national level.”

Antoine said that word was spread to student clubs through group messages, with plans to meet behind Raymond Dining Hall shortly before the game began at 7:00 p.m. “We hoped for as many students to get involved as possible, and encouraged people to spread the word to their friends,” said Antoine.

Between 20 and 30 students participated in taking a knee during the national anthem, congregating in a grassy section of the stadium behind the goalpost. “I often think back to a quote I heard in one of my classes, that racism is like a smog,” said Antoine. “It doesn’t matter how thick or thin it is, it is always there.”

While there are no current plans for another demonstration at any upcoming sporting events, Antoine said he is open to the idea. “I don’t want to make a decision for other people to participate in this action or not,” said Antoine. “However, I believe we need to have continuous conversations—especially at PC—regarding how to address these issues of race on our campus and on a larger scale.”

6 thoughts on “Friars Take a Knee During National Anthem

  1. I am tired of athletes at all levels taking a knee during the national anthem. There are plenty of other ways to make their point. As a Providence grad I will not support any teams, collegiate or professional who engage in this. This means general fan or financial support.

    1. If you are angry at this peaceful way for people to represent their voice, then I don’t think you truly understand the meaning behind it. This is no jab at any veteran who has fought to protect our country. This is no attempt to disrespect them either. Simply, it is a way to share your voice in a peaceful way that people have fought for you to have. America is not united and I think we can all see that. There is a problem and if we don’t acknowledge it, it will persist. Hate will spread and our country will be more divided than ever. Don’t shun student or athletes who use this way to make a difference. You say there are plenty of other ways to make a point but how? Imagine you are one student that can’t get their voice heard because you are discriminated against or no one wants to listen. Imagine you are one professional athlete that has the power to have millions of people hear them. This is there way to speak against injustice. America is a beautiful country and I am so grateful for all the people who have fought for me to have a voice. But the way things are going my voice won’t be heard because I am a woman or I am a minority. We take a knee in hopes people will see their fellow citizens are hurting. I hope you see that.

    2. I would like to know what other avenues these athletes should use “make their point”? Should they not play at all? Or is it better to take a knee, in the privacy of their homes, as they pray to God for justice and equality? Perhaps it’s not a protest unless they are in the streets with signs and torches demanding attention to their issue. I find that “taking a knee” is a quiet peaceful way to remind everyone to self reflect and ask themselves if there is any way they can contribute to ending the need for this action. It is easy to have anger towards, ingore,and avoid things that make us uncomfortable. Ignoring the termites in my foundation is not going to solve my problem. It’s better to deal with the painful reality that something is causing decay in my house straight on. Hoping they go away and leave my idea of a perfect home intact is foolish.

  2. Students like these are the pride of Providence College. Disruption is essential to progress. This act should make everyone uncomfortable. Well done, Friars.

  3. Everyone has an inalienable right to “free speech” in the United States. That’s what makes this country great. Other peopl don’t have to like it, they just have to respect it. Go Friars!

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