Who said professional athletes aren’t role models? The only problem is that the role models in this story are the NFL players protesting during the national anthem.
A youth football team in southern Illinois, comprised of children eight and under, decided to take a knee ahead of last Sunday’s matchup in Belleville.
Cahokia Quarterback Club football team coach Orlando Gooden was asked by one of his players if he saw the protests in nearby St. Louis, Mo. As a result Gooden, he held a team meeting ahead of the game.
According to Fox 2 - St. Louis:
“One of the kids asked me if I saw (people) protesting and rioting in St. Louis. I said yes; I said, ‘Do you know why they are doing it?'” said Coach Orlando Gooden.
Coach Gooden said his player responded, "Because black people are getting killed and nobody's going to jail.”
Gooden, who played football at Mizzou, said the kids knew about the Jason Stockley decision.
“I felt like it was a good teaching moment for me to circle the team and have a meeting,” he said.
The coach said he spoke to them about that and other situations that have happened in our country. He then explained why former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick started kneeling during the anthem.
Of course, because NFL players are staging their own protests, the kids see that and want to emulate those that play the sport the kids love at the highest level.
“One of the kids asked, ‘Can we do that?’ Gooden said, ‘As long as we know why we're doing it, I don’t have a problem with any of it.’”
How many eight year old would say have a firm grasp on civil rights issues? Heck, how many of the NFL players currently protesting have an informed grasp on civil rights issues?
Gooden had no problem kowtowing to the kids and their request, because — you know — social justice.
“As long as I have support of my parents and team, I’m perfectly fine,” Gooden said, “and I'm covered under the First Amendment to peacefully protest and assemble.”
It is of course the right of any American to protest under the U.S. Constitution. But, to push social justice on kids that are just trying to play a game raises some major red flags. Sure, the kids asked the coach about the whole situation, but having eight year olds take a political stance detracts from the enjoyment of the game.
Sometimes, you just have to let kids be kids.
For video of the protest, watch below: