- EphBlog - http://ephblog.com -

Kneeler

From the Springfield Student:

I looked around Blake Arena during the National Anthem on December 8. Our men’s basketball team faced Williams College. Spectators were focused on the visitor’s bench.

I followed their stares and I saw Williams senior forward, Kyle Scadlock, kneeling during the National Anthem. One of his teammates stood behind him with his hand on his shoulder.

I had never witnessed someone kneeling. I was shocked and unsure what was going to happen.

Will he start? Will they make a big deal out of Scadlock’s beliefs? Is there someone in the stands who is angered enough to lash out?

Scadlock started and played a total of 32 minutes.

I am writing this in admiration of his strength.

Questions:

1) Are there any other Williams athletes who kneel during the National Anthem? The Record should write a story.

2) Speaking of Record, how pathetic is it that they would write a long (and good) story about Scadlock without mentioning this? Was that incompetence or something else?

3) I have never seen a reference to Scadlock kneeling in any Williams publication. Has there been one? Not sure what the best policy for the College would be on that score.

“I became very angered about how people were responding to [Kaepernick’s] kneeling, primarily the coded language and the underlying message which disapproved of the issues [Kaepernick] was kneeling for,” Scadlock said.

After following all the media coverage and interviews he gave the first year he started to kneel, Scadlock became angered by how people were responding to Kaepernick’s decision. After watching him get black balled out of the league by NFL owners, Scadlock was inspired to kneel, too.

Watching Kaepernick take a knee, make various donations, as well as what he advocated for, also inspired Scadlock to learn more about how capitalism, systemic racism, and oppression affect African Americans and all people of color in the United States.

“The police brutality that is done onto black bodies is one of the many issues black people deal with every day, and as kneeling became a symbol for acknowledging and resisting these issues, I actually just started to feel more and more uncomfortable standing for the anthem,” Scadlock said. “Like [Kaepernick], I no longer felt like I could stand and take pride in being a part of a country that has these issues and to kneel was to at least address their existence.”

Good news! There are 200 or so other countries in this great world of ours. Perhaps Scadlock will be moving to one of them after graduation. If he thinks that America treats blacks unfairly, wait until he visits Mexico, Honduras, Brazil, Japan and so on.

Where does Scadlock get this nonsense about “black bodies?” There is nothing wrong with Scadlock taking a few Africana Studies courses at Williams and receiving the Joy James view of the world. The problem arises when no one at Williams dares to challenge him, no one takes the trouble — and runs the risk, c.f. Dean Dave’s demotion — to show Scadlock the other side of the story.

Scadlock and Williams College men’s basketball head coach, Kevin App, have a great relationship, so when he made up his mind that he was going to begin kneeling, he wanted to let him know ahead of time in case people saw it at a game and began speculating. Scadlock thought it was important to make sure they were on the same page and explained to him why he was making the decision.

“I think the aspect of the discussion and further action is more important than just kneeling,” Scadlock said. “Some people have the privilege of being able to ignore these issues while black people have to deal with them every day.”

Ahh, yes. Every day. The virulent racism of Williams College weighs down on poor Kyle Scadlock every damn day. I blame Maud Mandel . . .

Facebooktwitter
25 Comments (Open | Close)

25 Comments To "Kneeler"

#1 Comment By 89’ee On February 5, 2019 @ 6:57 am

The fact that other countries are racist or less tolerant of protest is irrelevant.

While hard, I applaud folks who raise difficult questions.

Whether about the right to free speech or about racial injustice.

The fact that many countries are racist or less tolerant is beside the point.

Difficult learning indeed.

#2 Comment By PTC On February 5, 2019 @ 7:17 am

#3 Comment By Nishant On February 5, 2019 @ 8:35 am

So you’re happy to defend freedom of speech unless you disagree with it? Cognitive dissonance much?

#4 Comment By 93eph On February 5, 2019 @ 9:11 am

Often, you come across as the concerned but encouraging father, trying to engage with the misguided young ‘uns in a productive way.

In this post, you sound like the slightly drunk uncle at dinner who’s been listening to too much Rush Limbaugh.

What does it matter if other countries are worse?

You can debate the significance and magnitude of police abuses (I think they are real but often overstated) but they clearly exist and are more likely to affect black citizens than white.

“… black people have to deal with them every day.” That’s a pretty generic statement; how you get to “The virulent racism of Williams College weighs down on poor Kyle Scadlock every damn day.” is beyond me.

#5 Comment By David Dudley Field ’25 On February 5, 2019 @ 9:17 am

Nishant: Can you read? Nowhere do I call for Scadlock to be expelled by Williams, benched by App or in anyway punished for his speech.

Indeed, one of my problems with Williams is precisely that the student handbook is written so broadly that it would allow the College to punish Scadlock, or anyone else who engages in speech that Williams does not like.

#6 Comment By David Dudley Field ’25 On February 5, 2019 @ 9:27 am

Often, you come across as the concerned but encouraging father, trying to engage with the misguided young ‘uns in a productive way.

Thanks. If I were writing a personal note to Scadlock, as a fellow Eph, or if he were a student in my class, I would engage with him differently.

In this post, you sound like the slightly drunk uncle at dinner who’s been listening to too much Rush Limbaugh.

Have you been talking to my nephews and nieces?!!

What does it matter if other countries are worse?

1) I am concerned that Williams has failed Scadlock by not providing him with a decent education. Is he even aware that other countries are worse?

2) If he is, then what does he do during their national anthems? The basketball team does an international tour most (?) years. Does Scadlock kneel during their anthems? Should he?

You can debate the significance and magnitude of police abuses (I think they are real but often overstated) but they clearly exist and are more likely to affect black citizens than white.

Sure! They are also more likely to affect men then women. White men are, for example, much more likely to be killed by police than black women. Does that mean that police are biased against men? Against white men?

I agree that bias is a real concern and that the empirical examination of these topics is tricky. If Scadlock has really been exposed to these issues in a meaningful way, then great! But I bet he hasn’t. (The nonsense about “black bodies” is a dead giveaway.)

I also despise the way that pernicious propaganda — Hands up, don’t shoot! — has played such a key role in the kneeling movement.

Big picture: Do we have one country — in which we all have obligations to each other and in which we honor common civic ceremonies together — or do we not?

#7 Comment By David Dudley Field ’25 On February 5, 2019 @ 9:43 am

My main focus here is not on whether or not Scadlock is justified in his kneeling. My main questions are the ones I asked:

1) Are there any other Williams athletes who kneel during the National Anthem?

2) Why didn’t the Record mention Schadlock’s kneeling in its long article about him?

3) Has the College ever mentioned the kneeling?

Insights on those questions would be much appreciated!

#8 Comment By abl On February 5, 2019 @ 2:07 pm

Good news! There are 200 or so other countries in this great world of ours. Perhaps Scadlock will be moving to one of them after graduation. If he thinks that America treats blacks unfairly, wait until he visits Mexico, Honduras, Brazil, Japan and so on.

This is an incredibly weak point that spoils what is otherwise a solid job of reporting. This point stinks for a variety of reasons:

1. It implies that we should not care about problems in the U.S. when those problems are found elsewhere in the world;

2. It implies that fleeing our problems is a reasonable way of dealing with them (‘if you don’t like it, then leave’);

3. It implies that kneeling is implicitly a criticism directed at the U.S. itself (‘if you don’t like it, then leave’).

I’m particularly disappointed to see this perspective coming from you, DDF. You should be embracing speech, even when you disagree with it. I understand you’re not calling for Williams to discipline this speaker, but your suggestions plainly cut towards less speech.

#9 Comment By Whitney Wilson ’90 On February 5, 2019 @ 2:24 pm

It implies that kneeling is implicitly a criticism directed at the U.S. itself

For what its worth, at least for Kyle Scadlock, kneeling is definitively a criticism of the U.S. itself:

Like [Kaepernick], I no longer felt like I could stand and take pride in being a part of a country that has these issues…

That doesn’t necessarily mean that “love it or leave it” is the right response, but I think that at least for some who kneel, the act is an indictment of the U.S. in general.

From my perspective, kneeling is a very effective method of expressing one’s viewpoint to a wide audience. However, kneelers shouldn’t expect that observers will always have a precise understanding of what the viewpoint is.

#10 Comment By PTC On February 5, 2019 @ 3:04 pm

I fully support the right to take a knee. I do not think that a person should be admonished professionally or legally for doing so.

Of course… I also support the right of a person to stand on a public street yelling nasty slurs about sexual orientation during a military funeral. Like the Westboro Baptist Church does.

It does not mean I have to like. For me, the anthem is very personal and I care about it. I think it shows a lack of respect to kneel during the anthem. That is my opinion. How you want to deal with it, is your business.

But again, that does not mean I have to like it.

Such is life in a free society. I have a right to be offended, just as you have a right to offend me.

#11 Comment By frank uible On February 5, 2019 @ 3:33 pm

Standing, kneeling or hiding out in the locker room, who should care? This is solely basketball. Play ball!

#12 Comment By A True Patriot On February 5, 2019 @ 8:31 pm

My good Sir Dudley David:

Finally someone who truly gets it! I am also not very much a fan of this kneeling before our big glorious flag — yuck! I am just one patriot man, but I still spend every day standing up tall just in case there may be some flag near-by. I have heard there is not even one true US flag on “Williams,” probably just socialist flags like Cuba and San Francisco. They love all these “hammer&sickle” countries, but I am just “sickle” of all this kneeling crap.

This basketball student probably loves the Veganism (animals are meant to be eaten, except for my good-boy cat Captain Saluter) and even the Freedom From Speech as well. We can show him by saying “Friend, either you salute 25 troops or you get 25 D’s in every Williams College class” (D stands for Double-Bad-Unpatriotic).

You bring a good point on the “leaving our country” if we do not like it! I like the USA very much, but sometimes I do wish we had better medicines than Obummercare. But whenever I think these things, I simply wear my favorite Flag Vest and watch news coverage of the Venezuela until I love my country again. Perhaps you should do so too, since I think you do not like many different things but I do not want you to leave (where would I get my EphBlog?!)

Bless bless,
A True Patriot (USA USA)

#13 Comment By atty On February 5, 2019 @ 8:54 pm

This post and DK’s Alfred E. Neuman, “What, who me?” response is a perfect encapsulation of his blogging style – armed with the germ of a truth, but petty, insinuating, race-baiting, and laced with bad faith. Shall we spend a week analyzing this train wreck of a post in detail? Well, at least a few minutes tonight!

2) Speaking of Record, how pathetic is it that they would write a long (and good) story about Scadlock without mentioning this? Was that incompetence or something else?

A perfectly fair, if snidely put, question.

Good news! There are 200 or so other countries in this great world of ours. Perhaps Scadlock will be moving to one of them after graduation. If he thinks that America treats blacks unfairly, wait until he visits Mexico, Honduras, Brazil, Japan and so on.

….. and the wheels fall off. What an amazing nativist non sequitur. As capably pointed out in the comments, greater injustice elsewhere does not excuse justice at home. And in particular, what a ridiculous comment to levy as to an Eph. Scadlock is an American, attending an American institution of higher education, and protesting injustices in America. What, is he supposed to drop out so he can travel to protest other, arguably (though no argument has been offered, natch) greater wrongs abroad? The moral logic is not, ahem, self-evident. And it’s a point offered in particular bad faith from someone who’s more than willing to spend a week castigating the Williams administration for its free-speech stance, a stance that, while I happen to agree with it, is a #firstworldproblem. Dude, there are dissidents being murdered in Chechnya! You’ve got to lay off Maud Mandel until the Burmese junta allows a free and open press! . . . would be a ridiculous thing to say.

Where does Scadlock get this nonsense about “black bodies?”

Nonsense? Nonsense? “Nonsense” offered without argument, as if it were self-evident that the point was nonsense? I hate the “check your privilege” cliche, but goddamn if it isn’t appropriate sometimes.

And please, what is the other side of the story? Let’s not have mealy-mouthed half-a-loaf insinuations. What’s the other side of the story? Do these “black bodies” get what they deserve? Did Philando Castle have it coming? Curious minds want to know!

Ahh, yes. Every day. The virulent racism of Williams College weighs down on poor Kyle Scadlock every damn day. I blame Maud Mandel . . .

Bad-faith nastiness on several levels. First, if it’s impossible for you to believe that some – many – black Americans experience the effect of racial injustice “every day,” then your moral imagination is more stunted than anyone’s should be. But as to Scadlock: he said nothing about “the virulent racism of Williams College,” obviously – that’s a threadbare straw man. So far as anyone can tell, Scadlock like other anthem protestors is attempting to raise awareness of the larger systemic injustices that are carried out in the name of the nation and under color of law. Injustices that your libertarian buddies like Radley Balko at Reason describe on a daily basis. These aren’t figments of anyone’s imagination – they’re real life consequences of a carceral state that oppresses many, but blacks more than any. Don’t put words in his mouth.

1) I am concerned that Williams has failed Scadlock by not providing him with a decent education. Is he even aware that other countries are worse?

2) If he is, then what does he do during their national anthems? The basketball team does an international tour most (?) years. Does Scadlock kneel during their anthems? Should he?

Hahahahahaha! Totally on point. “Excuse me, sir, I know you’re American and go to school in America and have to stand for the American national anthem dozens of times of a year before your American collegiate sporting events, and are hoping to make a political statement consistent with a larger group of athletes taking a similar figurative and literal stance in connection with other American sporting events, but I have what I consider to be an interesting hypothetical involving the PanAm Games that I’d like you to consider. I am not a crank.”

Big picture: Do we have one country — in which we all have obligations to each other and in which we honor common civic ceremonies together — or do we not?

“Big picture” is presumably meant to be ironic; “one country” is also presumably meant as a gag. Put aside that, unless you’re rich and white, there has never been “one country” in any meaningful sense. What, precisely, about Scadlock’s respectful kneeling during the national anthem FAILS to honor Americans’ “obligations to each other”? The whole point of the anthem protests is to highlight that, in point of fact, America and Americans are not living up to the extremely worthy and influential ideals that the flag is meant to symbolize. This country was, of course, founded by misanthropes and dreamers and malcontents and slaveowning narcissists who refused to take “That’s the way it is” for an answer; they felt the boot of tyranny on their neck until they threw it off and attempted to create a new type of civic endeavor where “obligations to each other” were real and meant something. Hasn’t quite come off yet, but we’re getting there. Highlighting THAT nation’s shortcomings and potential for growth isn’t disrespect; it’s a chip off the old block And again, you – like many others – have utterly failed to demonstrate that a respectful silent kneeling during the playing of the anthem does not “honor” a “common civic ceremony.” Scadlock isn’t dancing a jig. He doesn’t pump Nicki Minaj as counterprogramming. He’s silent, still, and making a statement through his actions. I know those outfitted with an authoritarian mindset can perceive such respectful, quiet dissent as “disrespect.” I wouldn’t remotely want to be counted among their number. Nor would I expect someone who couches his constant carping about a small college’s administration as constructive criticism to be so hasty to characterize others’ statements as dishonorable. But maybe I don’t hang out in the right epistemic bubbles.

#14 Comment By John Drew On February 5, 2019 @ 10:56 pm

I think DDF is quite correct that Williams has failed Scadlock.

At there very least, Scadlock should have been educated in an environment that celebrated freedom of speech. He should have been given access to persuasive scholarship and abiding conservative principles which would contradict Scadlock’s inane and easy to refute assumptions about life in the U.S.

If he truly understood U.S. exceptionalism, Scadlock would be embarrassed to show so little respect for our flag and the sacrifices it symbolizes.

#15 Comment By 89’er On February 6, 2019 @ 7:20 am

The chest thumping re: free speech ends the moment it makes conservatives uncomfortable.

More conservative indoctrination is need so we are not made uncomfortable.

Some free speech should be free’er than others, eh?

Irony much?

#16 Comment By PTC On February 6, 2019 @ 7:39 am

I know those outfitted with an authoritarian mindset can perceive such respectful, quiet dissent as “disrespect.”/blockquote>

You mean some of us who were indoctrinated and served in wars?

Look, when you play around with important symbols you are going to insult people. Part of the point of this protest is to garner attention because the behavior is something that people disagree with. People of all races, genders, and sexual orientations, by the way. Gladys Knight who sang The Anthem Sunday at the Super Bowl does not agree with it. Thinks it is disrespectful. So…

In the end a flag is nothing more than a rag with pictures on it. A bible is nothing more that a book with words in it.

Maybe if I stand outside a church ripping pages out of one for world peace I can get a little understanding…?? Not to offend anyone, of course!

Don’t tell me it is about “authoritarianism” when I lost 86 teammates in war. It means something more to me personally. Not everyone who served in wars agrees with me- but most of the people I know who did do. First responders as well. Others…

News flash- when you don’t honor our colors you will insult some people. And it is fine that I and others are insulted. He has the right. I am not fragile about it. We can disagree about it all day long, but kneeling for the anthem is symbolism that offends many people.

It is what it is, and everyone knows it.

#17 Comment By PTC On February 6, 2019 @ 7:42 am

“I know those outfitted with an authoritarian mindset can perceive such respectful, quiet dissent as “disrespect.””

You mean some of us who were indoctrinated and served in wars?

Look, when you play around with important symbols you are going to insult people. Part of the point of this protest is to garner attention because the behavior is something that people disagree with. People of all races, genders, and sexual orientations, by the way. Gladys Knight who sang The Anthem Sunday at the Super Bowl does not agree with it. Thinks it is disrespectful. So…

In the end a flag is nothing more than a rag with pictures on it. A bible is nothing more that a book with words in it.

Maybe if I stand outside a church ripping pages out of one for world peace I can get a little understanding…?? Not to offend anyone, of course!

Don’t tell me it is about “authoritarianism” when I lost 86 teammates in war. It means something more to me personally. Not everyone who served in wars agrees with me- but most of the people I know who did do. First responders as well. Others…

News flash- when you don’t honor our colors you will insult some people. And it is fine that I and others are insulted. He has the right. I am not fragile about it. We can disagree about it all day long, but kneeling for the anthem is symbolism that offends many people.

It is what it is, and everyone knows it.

Reposted because block quote screwed up….

#18 Comment By PTC On February 6, 2019 @ 8:01 am

https://www.today.com/video/gladys-knight-explains-decision-to-sing-super-bowl-national-anthem-1435848771623

Watch above…

Kneeling is a controversial act. It is what it is. I fully support someones right to do it. Many of the men and women who defend a person’s right to kneel, burn flags, etc. defend these rights with their lives- and find it disrespectful.

Everyone has a right to speech and expression. People are going to act negatively when you refuse to respect their colors.

It is what it is. It’s all good.

#19 Comment By 89’er On February 6, 2019 @ 8:39 am

Right on PTC.

No need to invite folks to leave the country when their speech makes us uncomfortable.

#20 Comment By PTC On February 6, 2019 @ 10:05 am

89er- Exactly. I am willing to talk about this. With anyone. Id like to try to give him a reason to stand up. He is not alone in his desire for justice, but the expression he is using is generally offensive to veterans like me, and others.

The “authoritarian”? VFW and the American Legion (who have tens of millions of members, and I am a member of both) have both come out with statements that kneeling shows disrespect. So I am not alone. Nor am I unreasonable.

https://www.stripes.com/news/us/vfw-american-legion-nfl-protests-disrespectful-to-vets-others-disagree-1.489529

People can disagree whether or not it is a sign of disrespect, but to claim that millions of Americans do not or should not see it as such is false. It is disrespectful for millions, and controversial, and everyone knows this.

All good.

#21 Comment By abl On February 6, 2019 @ 11:34 am

PTC —

This is interesting in part because I think kneeling during the national anthem fairly clearly shouldn’t be seen as disrespectful to our veterans. We can debate whether or not that’s correct; I’ll acknowledge your claim that many veterans are (nevertheless) offended.

So here’s a hypothetical for you: what should happen, normatively, if Antifa wants to go into any VFW or American Legion location and kneel in front of the flag? What about fly the flag upside down or burn it? If you were a VFW/American Legion administrator, given the widespread feeling among veterans re these being disrespectful and upsetting gestures–irrespective of whether those feelings are reasonable–wouldn’t you take steps to assure that such flag protests were kept out of your gathering spaces?

#22 Comment By PTC On February 6, 2019 @ 1:25 pm

Inside a VFW is private property. Just like Williams. They would be trespassing and destroying our property if they wanted to burn our flag- or yours.

Now, should the legion allow a member of BLM to come in to discuss why burning a flag, or standing on one (often done) or kneeling during the anthem, is something they think is ok- and what they would like to accomplish, then why not? Veterans do discuss such issues among themselves as well. Community outreach on veterans issues is part of the mission. As in honoring colors and common practices of respect.

Of course, the VFW is not a college, nor does it have the the 1A obligations of a public college on its property- which are unique. Now, if the local post was to open the form to certain content for the public, then that is a different story.

Speech and debate are different constructs at Williams than they are at a local VFW.

Which is to say- a VFW is not Home Depot. Neither is Williams.

It is interesting that Williams allows for offensive speech and conduct against veterans in this context. If someone was to be insulted by this kneeling and say so on campus, that person would probably be admonished- and fired if they were staff. I would guess?

Is that viewpoint discrimination? I think so. Legal because williams can hire and fire at will… but wrong. A VFW wold not oust a member for such conduct in reverse. People have opinions that offend others. Such is life.

And what “should be” is just great- what is however, is that kneeling for the anthem and burning flags is offensive to tens of millions- probably over a hundred million- Americans. That is the reality.

I can also state that the rebel flag stands only for heritage all day long as well… and that it is ridiculous to be offended when someone flies the stars and bars.

I don’t think that passes the common sense test, but I can certainly claim that. Just like you are.

#23 Comment By PTC On February 6, 2019 @ 1:37 pm

To add, unlike Williams, a lot of what the VFW and Legion do is in, or involves, the public square. Members of Westboro can, and do, disrespect veterans funerals at will. Members of the public kneel at ceremonies that involve military members, police, fire, and veterans organizations.

Anyone can feel free to show up at Field Park this year for memorial day and take a knee. Get a permit (which will not be denied) and you can burn a flag.

That is what freedom is. That does not mean I have to like Westboro or flag burners…

I have the right to be offended- and I am when someone disrespects our colors.

#24 Comment By PTC On February 6, 2019 @ 1:42 pm

I wonder if someone could be legally removed, or fired, at Springfield, if they spoke back against this behavior at the event?

Probably not. Its a public school.

#25 Comment By PTC On February 6, 2019 @ 1:49 pm

abl-

If someone was to show up at a public college game with a banner that reads- “Losers kneel. Go back to Williams College Town! Losers! You suck!” Then start chants…etc.

Could the public college legally remove them during the course of the event/ forum? Their banner?

Interesting legal question.