By Philip Johnson
Division and anger. Arguments and controversy. Firing and blackballing. Politics and social media. Backstabbing and hate. All of this negativity has led to change and awareness. The established tradition in sports of standing for the anthem has been a major topic of discussion in past weeks. Recently NFL players and coaches have taken a stand against social injustice by kneeling, sitting, or not even showing up for the national anthem. In recent weeks, the problem has had backlash from military, team owners, and even the President. This movement for social awareness has taken a toll on the league its players and even the fans.
On August 26th, 2016 in a preseason game last season, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was photographed sitting down on a bench for the national anthem. His actions were almost overlooked until the photo was shown. When asked why he sat he said he won't stand for an anthem that represents a country where there is social injustice and racism regarding police shootings involving black men. The backlash he met was unprecedented. There were racial slurs thrown at him, hatred from the media and really the whole country. There were death threats, calls for him to be fired, and even for him to be banned from the NFL.
To see where all the hate comes from one must look at multiple areas. Most people who are against the protests say it’s because Kaepernick disrespected the military. Their reasoning is that people have died and sacrificed their lives for that flag and everything it stands for. For instance Daulton Der a junior at GHS agrees in the sentiments about the disrespect shown to the military and took it step further when he said “it not only disrespects the military but the pride of our country itself”.A country’s flag is the most recognizable symbol about the country, and in America, many people are passionate about it. So when Americans see a man making millions of dollars sitting down; showing the utmost disrespect to the thing they take the most pride in they are going to be angry. Kaepernick also faced backlash from his teammates, owners across the league and the commissioner. He continued to sit/kneel for the anthem the entire 2016-2017 season which eventually led to his team releasing him.
Fast-forward to this season - Kaepernick is still unemployed. However, his message has gotten out. He had one goal and that was to raise awareness, and that he did.Regardless of those who still throw shade his way he has supporters. Such as Glenelg senior Chris Barlow who says his message is great and his means of attracting attention to that message were perfect”. Much to his dismay and too many who support him he can’t get work. This season, players have taken a stand against the injustices they see in this country going unsolved. Leading into the third week of the season, President Trump tweeted out that any player who sits for the anthem should be fired, and if a fan finds the player’s actions offensive they should walk out of the stadium. He followed up his sentiments by calling anyone who sits/kneels a “son of a b****”".
Well, those statements were taken very personally by NFL players. As such there was a league wide protest held on Sunday, September 26. Every team had some form of protest happen. The Pittsburgh Steelers, Tennessee Titans, and Seattle Seahawks went to the lengths of not coming out of the locker room for the anthem. Some of the performers singing the anthem took a knee while they sang. Kaepernick’s wish to get his message across about social injustices that happen and are swept under the rug and can no longer be accepted, had been heard. He found the one way that in his mind that would make people open their mouths and finally start discuss the social problems this country faces.
As of today, the protests are ongoing. But to everyone's surprise this season the owners are on the player's side. Or so the players thought. After week 3 every owner except for one came out and said we are behind our players. A bigger surprise was the owner who came out first. Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots, is the most powerful owner in football. He is also a Donald Trump supporter and donated millions to Trump's political party when he ran for office. However, he reportedly backed his players and their protest. The sole owner who was initially against the protests is none other than Jerry Jones. The Dallas Cowboys owner initially came out and said any of his players that “does anything other than stand and place his right hand over his heart will not play for his team”. Coming out of the most conservative state in America this response was expected. What wasn’t was when he sang a different tune at a press conference on October 8th when he said he "made a mistake in his previous comments" and that he "respects his players and their opinions and actions".
However all the owners sang a different tune when reports from ESPN came out on October 10th said the owners want to implement a rule where players must stand. This change in opinion is in response to a slight decline in attendance in the last three weeks. But what the owners don’t realize and most of the country doesn't either is that what they're doing directly relates to what Kaepernick was trying to stop. They’re trying to sweep the players protests under the rug and as Kaepernick has said one of the ideals this country was built on was protests. It seems although his message got across it's not being taken seriously.
While Kaepernick remains unsigned, even though he is better than many of the quarterbacks in the league, his impact of what he did on the field is going to be long lasting. He did something many have tried and failed at. He got people to start talking, and having conversations that were uncomfortable and still are for a lot of people. But at least people are discussing it. Now where do the protests goes from here? Will Kaepernick ever get signed again? What's the next step for these athletes? Those questions can’t be answered right now, but what we do know is that through the death threats, firing, blackballing, and unemployment, Kaepernick’s message has changed the landscape of sports forever.
By Cameron Olenick
On August 24, 2017 a category four storm, Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Rockport, Texas destroying thousands of homes. The storm also hit Louisiana before weakening. Harvey resulted in eighty-two deaths in the United States and roughly $200 billion worth of damages. Then on Sunday, September 10, 2017 a category three storm, Hurricane Irma, struck the southeast putting substantial damage on Florida. Places like the Florida Keys, Miami, and St. Augustine were devastated by Irma, resulting in seventy-two deaths. The cost to rebuild the state has been estimated at $100 billion. Florida is a very popular vacation spot, but with the recent events, beaches and buildings have been destroyed.
Nonprofit organizations that are supporting those in need include the Red Cross, UNICEF, and SPCA International. Countless efforts have been started to help pay for the destruction. The states affected are taking all the donations they can get. Glenelg’s own Key Club is helping with relief efforts. At a school football game they raised over $700 worth of donations in less than four hours. They will be collecting more money at future games to come. Glenelg teacher and advisor of the Key Club, Mrs. Doerman said, “ We have raised a total of $1200. All the money is going to the American Red Cross”. Residents all across Howard County have donated to Glenelg graduate and fifteen-year Howard County teacher of Reservoir High School Dave Boteler, who filled two twenty-six foot U-Haul trucks with food and supplies that he drove to Houston to give to people suffering there.
Money can be given directly to the Glenelg Key Club and it will be used to help those in need. Every cent counts and these people need our help, so if you or your family has money to donate, bring it to Mrs. Doerman it will go to a very good cause.
By Alex Long
Governor Hogan has recently passed a new mandate in Maryland that forces schools to start after Labor Day, and end before June 15. Governor Hogan implemented this mandate as an effort to benefit the state’s economy as Ocean City would get more visitors. He also believed that Maryland families would also benefit as summer would last longer.
By making summer longer, the school year is shortened and thus students will get less days off during the school year. This means that there is no room to account for snow days in the school calendar as students must attend 180 days of school, and if there are snow days, make up days will be taken from Spring Break, or other additional days off in the school year such as President’s Day.
While students are happy about an extended summer, the thought of a shortened Spring Break is upsetting. Regarding the matter of a shortened Spring Break, Senior Allyson Kim said, “They can take my Spring Break, I won't come to school.” Many other students share the same opinion, and are angered at the idea of having less days off during the school year. If students skip school to go on vacation during Spring Break, students will fall behind, and teachers will not be able to plan lessons accordingly.
Another thing to take into account is how AP courses are affected by the shortened school year. Since Maryland schools start later, the time for covering material before AP testing is limited. Less time to cover AP material before the test could mean lower scores and more stress on students to spend their free time struggling to cover material there is not time to cover in school anymore. Teachers would also struggle to teach information quicker which could result in an undercoverage of topics. As Senior Gloria McComas said, “Sticking bookends on the school year is just not realistic.” It seems as if Maryland students are at a disadvantage as they get less time to cover important AP material, and have less days off during the school year. Also, if there is a huge snow storm or natural disaster, there are no days to make up for the missed school which means there is even less time to teach.
It seems as if students are not the only ones negatively affected by this decision. It is already hard enough for parents to find a place for their kids to go during the summertime without the additional weeks that have been tacked onto summer this year. It was even harder for parents to find camps and day cares this year however, because many of the child care places had closed in the assumption that school would start at the same date as previous years. Additionally, parents struggled to find the money to send their kids to camps for an additional two weeks, as most parents have jobs and cannot stay home to watch their kids.
With all of the problems regarding the new state mandate, it seems as if it would be more beneficial to both parents and students to start school before Labor Day. This way, students would have the time they need to learn all AP material before the tests, there would be room for snow days in the school year, and Spring Break would not be shortened. Also, parents would not have to scramble to find childcare for their kids in the last couple weeks of summer anymore as their kids would be in school.