It is not easy for everyone to make a stand… or even kneel. For every action there is a reaction and as we saw from Colin Kaepernick, sometimes the negative blowback is life-changing. So I respect those who courageously use their moment to peacefully protest.
Yesterday 26-year old U.S. fencer Race Imboden knelt during the anthem as his gold medal-winning team stood on the podium of the Pan Am Games. Afterwards he tweeted why he took a knee.
“We must call for change. This week I am honored to represent Team USA at the Pan Am Games, taking home Gold and Bronze. My pride however has been cut short by the multiple shortcomings of the country I hold so dear to my heart. Racism, Gun Control, mistreatment of immigrants, and a president who spreads hate are at the top of a long list. I chose to sacrifice my moment today at the top of the podium to call attention to issues that I believe need to be addressed. I encourage others to please use your platforms for empowerment and change,” he wrote.
The Powers That Be were not inspired.
“Every athlete competing at the 2019 Pan American Games commits to terms of eligibility, including to refrain from demonstrations that are political in nature. In this case, Race didn’t adhere to the commitment he made to the organizing committee and the USOPC,” Mark Jones, Vice President of Communications, USOPC said in a statement today.
“We respect his rights to express his viewpoints, but we are disappointed that he chose not to honor his commitment. Our leadership are reviewing what consequences may result.”