Polling Student Athletes: Perspectives on Standing for the Pledge of Allegiance and National Anthem (Opinion)

Elise Jensen, Reporter

After Colin Kaepernick kneeled during one of his pre-season games in 2016, I have noticed a significant decrease in my classmates’ actions to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem. The choice of self-expression for the history of our nation seems to be a topic of which everyone has an opinion, except for one group – student athletes. While attending sporting events, I noticed that the student athletes of Niwot always seemed to have their hands over their hearts for the anthem. From that curiosity, I created a poll in which anonymously gathered the results of students of Niwot’s opinions on standing for our nation’s songs. 


The poll was simple – I asked, ‘‘do you stand for the National Anthem, and why?’’ These questions were then followed up with questions about the student’s opinions on the actions of others during the anthem. To my surprise, only 24% of the students said they don’t stand for either. This means that 76% of the students stand for either one or both, and of those who stand for the national anthem, 63% said they put their hand over their heart. To tell the truth: I didn’t expect these results. 


After finding out that a majority of students stand for the anthem, my next question was why? Four options were provided to ask why people stand for the national anthem, and the majority of people agreed that they are required to stand because they are student athletes. I found it very interesting that students believe that they are required to stand for the anthem for this simple reason. Hearing this made me wonder if it was their coaches pressuring them to stand in order for them to receive more playing time. Of course, we will never know this answer. 


The majority of students who filled out this quiz said that they are required to stand for the anthem; later in the poll, however, they also stated that student athletes should be allowed to take a political stand before games. I found this poll really enlightening, as these were not the results I expected. Being located in such a liberal town had me assuming that a majority of students would choose to not stand for either of our nation’s traditions. However, the one thing I did expect was that the majority of people said not standing for either isn’t disrespectful. So, did this poll give us accurate responses? What do you think?