This past season’s College Football Playoff national championship game between LSU and Clemson is shaping up to be the most eventful final game of the season since the CFP was first introduced in 2014.
Former LSU player Odell Beckham Jr. was issued an arrest warrant for slapping a security guard’s butt after the win. The NFL wideout also made headlines for giving out wade of cash to players on field at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
Even President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump were in attendance and given an ovation by fans of both teams during the pregame ceremony. One teacher on field for the ceremony decided to use her platform by kneeling on the field during the national anthem.
Meet Kelly Holstine. She’s a former Minnesota Teacher of the Year that was one of many of the country’s top teachers being honored on field prior to the LSU-Clemson game. While millions of viewers were fixated on President Trump, the english teacher took a knee to “stand up for marginalized and oppressed people.”
Kelly Holstine National Anthem Protest
“Honored as State Teachers of the Year at NCAA Champ FB Game. Given platform to stand up for marginalized and oppressed people. Like many before, I respectfully kneeled during Nat’l Anthem because, “No one is free until we are all free” (MLK). #imwithkap #blacklivesmatter #LGBTQ,” she quoted Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in a tweet during the game.Advertisement
Holstine received both support and displeasure on social media. One Twitter user replied that she was a “role model of worthiness” that should run for office. Another said that the kneeling was a “disgraceful disrespect to our country, flag, and service men and women.”
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick first popularized kneeling during the national anthem in 2016 to protest racial injustice and police brutality. Since then, other superstar athletes like Megan Rapinoe have done the same and spurred people across the nation to follow suit as well.
President Trump has publicly taken issue with kneeling during the national anthem and has criticized both Kaepernick and Rapinoe for disrespecting the flag, even though that’s not exactly what they were doing. He’s even tweeted to NFL owners that every player in the NFL should have to stand during the anthem.
Holstine is a gender-nonconforming lesbian who taught at Shakopee Alternative High School when she was named Minnesota’s Teacher of the Year for 2018-19. According to the Star Tribune, she stopped serving as a public school teacher to take a position at OutFront Minnesota, the state’s largest LGBT rights organization.
She told The Hill that her decision to kneel was not one she made by herself. She consulted with other educators and her wife before coming to the conclusion to take a knee while on the same field as POTUS and FLOTUS.
This isn’t the first time Holstine has done something like this. Last year, she and fellow award-winning educator, Jessica Dueñas of Kentucky, skipped a national teacher of the year White House ceremony to protest the Trump administration’s education policies.