When these 14 men took a knee, took a seat, or raised a fist - all done peacefully, it violated white sensibilities. pic.twitter.com/3ZSSjaQiCU— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) September 12, 2016
Over the weekend, little league football players as young as 11 and 12 were berated with racial slurs and attacked with death threats after their entire team and coaches took a knee during the national anthem before their game.
Inspired by San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick, the players of the Beaumont Bulls protested against racial inequality and police brutality by refusing to stand and place their hands over their hearts as “The Star-Spangled Banner” played.
April Parkerson, whose son plays on the team reportedly said, "Our children are receiving death threats from people saying things like hang those monkeys, they should've died on 9/11, and they're going to kill each other anyway."
Another similar situation occurred in Brunswick, Ohio when a 16-year-old named Rodney Axson also chose to take a knee during the anthem, according to prominent black activist Shaun King, who detailed these incidents in an op-ed for the New York Daily News.
Since he took a knee, Rodney Axson, who is 16 years old, has received repeated death threats online & off. pic.twitter.com/vfy5Xr9MM0— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) September 12, 2016
Axson reportedly overheard some of his teammates using the “N-word” in the locker room before a game, which prompted his decision to join the widespread demonstration that day.
Afterward, he received hate from racist trolls as well as his own white teammates who allegedly called him the "N-word" to his face while they were playing. There was also a handwritten note left for Axson about lynching, according to King.
"I thought moving to a community like Brunswick, we would be safe … Keep away from gun violence, then you have to come out here and deal with racial things," Axson’s father said.
Te'Ron Brown of West Orange-Stark High School in Texas is another young, black athlete who became the target of a racist social media post shared by two members of an opposing team.
Players on the opposing team of Te'Ron Brown openly posted memes online calling him a nigger this past week. pic.twitter.com/AhdNl7ekXw— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) September 12, 2016
According to local reports, Brown’s community is standing with him by wearing shirts printed with his number, 54, or #WeStandWith54.
Although these attacks against children and teens are vile and reprehensible, King suggests they serve as evidence that the protests are working.
In essence, the controversy surrounding the national anthem protest acts as a mirror reflecting the racism, hate, and bigotry which American minorities are subjected to on a regular basis.
Without even being provoked, people are exposing their own hate-filled biases which only reinforce the need for the demonstrations to continue until systemic change has been made.
Banner Photo Credit: Twitter @ShaunKing