A thought provoking essay in the Washington Post by Race Imboden, a champion in fencing.

Three days ago in Lima, Peru, I stood at the top of an awards podium with my teammates and received a gold medal for fencing in the 2019 Pan American Games. The room wasn’t crowded, there weren’t all that many cameras flashing, and there certainly weren’t millions of fans tuned in to watch us from back home — I love my sport, but we fencers know we don’t draw the same audience as football, soccer, boxing or track and field.

But at the podium, my palms wet from nerves, when the “Star-Spangled Banner” began to play, I took a knee — following in the footsteps of Colin Kaepernick, Megan Rapinoe, Muhammad Ali, John Carlos and Tommie Smith: black, LGBT, female and Muslim athletes who chose to take a stand. I’m not a household name like those heroes, but as an athlete representing my country and, yes, as a privileged white man, I believe it is time to speak up for American values that my country seems to be losing sight of.

I’ve been honored to represent my country in international competition, and each time I hear our national anthem played, it’s a moment of personal pride. I love my country, full stop. When I look around, though, I see racial injustice, sexism, hate-inspired violence and scapegoating of immigrants. This isn’t new, but it feels like it’s getting worse, and after the mass killings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, I wanted to use that moment on the podium to send a message that things have to change.

And I believe that speaking up and demanding this change isn’t just the responsibility of women and minorities. It’s time that those of us privileged enough not to be personally targeted by this kind of hate, whether we’re athletes or not, start speaking out.