Rochester football players take a knee

The killing of a black man inside his own apartment by a cop who allegedly thought she was entering her own unit is pretty much why people of color kneel on the sideline of football games. Some police officers, they say, are far too quick to take the lives of African-Americans. Too many jurors, they add, are too quick to let them get away with it.

So when four players on the Rochester Community and Technical College football team took a knee on Saturday, the usual debate broke out. Not at the game, the Rochester Post-Bulletin notes, but online when a picture was distributed on Facebook.

Chuck Siefert, a retired RCTC coach, said it disrespected the flag, as if killing an innocent man in his own apartment doesn’t.

“My dad, my aunt and uncles fought in World War II,” Siefert said. “I know there’s a lot of controversy about what this means. But to me, it’s disrespect for our country. I didn’t have to sit there and support it.”

And he didn’t. He walked out of the game after snapping a picture. Isn’t the freedom to make your statement in the manner you wish grand?

The college, whose president is African-American and a former cop, chose the bigger picture.

“As an institution of higher learning, RCTC respects and will protect the rights of our students, staff and faculty to free speech, expression, petition, and peaceful assembly as set forth in the U.S. Constitution. We also respect our students’ right to express themselves in a peaceful manner,” the statement said.

None of the people quoted in the PB article had anything to say about the actual reason for the protest.

Related: What the Jason Van Dyke Murder Trial Means for the Future of Chicago (The New Yorker)