Letter from a reader

Texas Youth Football Team Refuses to Stand for the Anthem Despite Death Threats

September 15, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


Last Saturday, September, 10, the entire Beaumont (Texas) Bulls youth football team and their coach knelt during the national anthem. Now they are receiving death threats, but the team and the coach vow to continue to not stand for the anthem.

Eleven-year-old running back Jaelun Parkerson had been very upset about the police murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile and wanted to do something about it. After hearing about Colin Kaepernick’s protest against the treatment of “Black people and people of color” and when Brandon Marshall of the Denver Broncos knelt during the anthem last Thursday, Jaelun (who is bi-racial with a white mother and Black father) told his mom, “OK, We’re going to do this.”

Jaelun, his entire team, his coach, Rah Rah Barber, and the rest of the coaching staff “kneeled and placed their hands on each other’s shoulders in silence before the playing of the national anthem” at their game this past Saturday.

Barber said that Jaelun had shown him a photo of professional football players not standing for the anthem and said the team wanted to do the same. Barber asked the team, “Do you know what this means?” And “they said that they did.” The players and the team got approval from their parents to go ahead and protest.

Jaelun’s mom, April Parkerson, told ABC News that the team wanted to show solidarity with other protesters and to help bring attention to the issues of racial injustice” and in doing that “players on the team have received threatening messages.” Tweets and messages on social media have threatened the youth with death and one tweet called for the lynching of Coach Barber. Parkerson said that the team’s protest of the national anthem “will continue.” Barber also told the press that these threats are not going to stop the team from taking their stand.

Barber said these threats have showed “how far behind we are as a society.” He said that Kaepernick’s protest has “motivated (him) to read up on the history of the national anthem.”

Colin Kaepernick’s courageous protest against the oppression of Black people and people of color and against police brutality has resonated among the oppressed and others and they are taking this up. Jaelun’s mom said that “Colin didn’t have to take this subject on. But he decided to use the platform he had to speak up for people who have no voice.”

Well, the people are showing they DO have a voice and this voice—and the debate around not standing for this rag has got to grow. If these youth can do it, so can thousands and thousands of others who hate the way things are in this country. Not standing for the national anthem is a wonderful and beautiful thing. The www.revcom.us article “Sit Down for Their Nasty-full Anthem! A Teachable Moment in the USA” calls on people to go to these sporting and other events and “bring things like The Top 10 Reasons to Sit Down for the Nasty-full Anthem—#sitdownfortherag’ and critically relevant BA quotes. If people are acting, talk to them, listen and engage. Take action yourself. Join or provoke the debate—and take it further. Bring Bob Avakian’s Invitation to people—and ways for them to take it up. Take the Message from the Central Committee of the Revolutionary Communist Party—and put out the challenge, and the possibility, of REAL revolution.”

So let’s get to it and dive into the controversy... and take it further. And send reports and correspondence on the experience to revolution.reports@yahoo.com.


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