Youth Football Team in Ill. Takes a Knee During the National Anthem Before Game Sunday

Cahokia Quarterback Club kneels during the national anthem before the team’s game Sept. 17, 2017. (Fox 2 Now video screenshot)
Cahokia Quarterback Club kneels during the national anthem before the team’s game Sept. 17, 2017. (Fox 2 Now video screenshot)

Children understand things that are happening around them more than we think and more than we give them credit for. A great example of this is the Cahokia Quarterback Club, which decided as a group to take a knee during the national anthem before the team’s football game Sunday in Belleville, Ill.


The team consists of players who are 8 years old or younger, and ahead of their game Sunday, all 25 players kneeled during the national anthem, Fox 2 Now reports.

Their coach, Orlando Gooden, told Fox 2 Now, “One of the kids asked me if I saw [people] protesting and rioting in St. Louis. I said yes. I said, ‘Do you know why they are doing it?’”

According to Coach Gooden, the player responded, “Because black people are getting killed, and no one is going to jail.”

Because he saw that the children were aware of the not-guilty verdict in the Jason Stockley case, he said that he felt it was a teachable moment to talk to them about that case as well as others around the country. He also explained former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s silent protests by kneeling before the game during the national anthem.

Gooden said that one of the players asked, “Can we do that?”

“I said, ‘As long as we know why we are doing it, I don’t have a problem with any of it,’” Gooden said.


With the support of all the team parents, the Cahokia players immediately took a knee where they were standing when the anthem began playing. Their backs were to the flag, but Gooden says that wasn’t on purpose.

“What I teach my kids is love, integrity, honesty, fairness, respect and boundaries,” Gooden told Fox 2 Now.


A neighbor interviewed by Fox 2 Now said that he didn’t have a problem with the team kneeling as long as it was supported by the parents.

Gooden told Fox 2 Now, “As long as I have support of my parents and team, I’m perfectly fine, and I’m covered under the First Amendment to peacefully protest and assemble.”


What an awesome lesson for those children.

Read more at Fox 2 Now.

News Editor for The Root. I said what I said. Period.


Monique Judge

Do you realize how dumb you sound making this argument? Who said they hate everything the US flag stands for? Where did you get that out of anything I wrote? Please be quiet until you have something real and helpful to add to the discussion.