A team of 8-year-old football players from Cahokia, Illinois, was seen doing the unthinkable on the field this weekend. When their coach’s wife posted a video of their display on Facebook, outrage quickly ensued.
For the most part, team sports are enriching extracurricular activities for school-aged children. Strength and endurance are built while character traits like persistence and self-discipline are developed. Unless you have a coach like Orlando Gooden, that is. Then, the only thing you’re learning is that it’s perfectly okay to disrespect our great nation and the hard-working men and women who keep it safe.
According to The Gateway Pundit, a football club of 8-year-olds and their coach in Cahokia, Illinois, near St. Louis, took a knee during the national anthem this weekend before their game. Coach Orlando Gooden, who played football at Mizzou, said his team knelt during the National Anthem on Sunday after “one of the kids asked me if I saw [people] protesting and rioting in St. Louis.”
Gooden responded that he did see the protests, and he asked the player, “Do you know why they are doing it?” The coach said the player responded, “Because black people are getting killed and nobody’s going to jail.”
“I felt like it was a good teaching moment for me to circle the team and have a meeting,” said Gooden. He talked to his team about the Jason Stockley decision and other instances where black men have been shot by the police.
Gooden then explained why former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick started kneeling during the National Anthem, according to FOX 2 Now. “One of the kids asked, ‘Can we do that?'” recalled the coach. “I said, ‘As long as we know why we’re doing it, I don’t have a problem with any of it.'” So, when the National Anthem began to play, the Cahokia third-graders immediately took a knee where they were standing, with their backs turned to the American flag.
“What I teach my kids is love, integrity, honesty, fairness, respect, and boundaries,” said Gooden. “As long as I have (the) support of my parents and team, I’m perfectly fine, and I’m covered under the First Amendment to peacefully protest and assemble.” All the parents on the team reportedly supported the coach’s decision to take a knee. However, a Facebook post by Gooden’s wife was met with backlash.
Gooden is right about one thing; this was a good teaching moment. However, the lesson he offered was sorely off-base. What he should have taught his team is that no one would be getting killed if they simply followed the law and responded respectfully when receiving instructions from a uniformed police officer.
Coach Gooden should have taught his players that the reason no one is going to jail is because those black men were shot lawfully. He should have taught his players that they won’t be shot if they don’t act like little thugs. Instead, he likely filled them with fear of law enforcement, which won’t serve them well if they are even in an encounter with cops. God forbid such a time unfolds, Gooden will have blood on his hands.
No wonder there is an epidemic within the black community of young men disrespecting law enforcement and subsequently getting shot when black children are taught from 8-years-old that they cannot trust the police.