On Friday night, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a controversial stand to a serious issue in the United States of America. It occurred right before the 49ers took on the Green Bay Packers in a preseason game, the quarterback chose to sit during the playing of the national anthem.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” – Colin Kaepernick
Kap is referring to the slayings of African-Americans by police that have started countless protests, social media campaigns, and brought racial tensions in this country more into the spotlight. There are too many names to list, but if you have kept up with the news at all over the last few years, you already know about these incidents. Innocent black men and women were killed and the police officers that pulled the triggers not only got away with murder, but also got a paid leave of absence.
The embattled signal caller expressed his First Amendment right, whether you agree with his decision or not. Many are not happy with the former Super Bowl quarterback for deciding to protest during the national anthem. Those feel he is disrespecting the brave men and women who make and have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend this country and all the freedoms we have. That is simply not the case in this scenario. Not one time did Kaepernick say anything about those courageous men and women or any police officers being bad. He simply exercised one of his rights as an American citizen.
Then there are some that feel he has absolutely zero right to complain since he lives in a country that allows him to throw a football for a living and make millions of dollars.
First off, this has zero to do with football or salaries and more to do with social injustice this country faces. This has nothing to do with Blaine Gabbert being the likely 49ers’ starting quarterback when the season opens. Kaepernick used his football platform to protest something he feels strongly in. Professional athletes, despite how many millions of dollars they make, are still citizens who experience things just like the everyday man or woman does. These men and women should use their platforms they have been given to stand up for things they believe strongly in. Professional athletes are role models and the more they speak out on issues, the more awareness is brought to whatever subject they are talking about. Kaepernick is simply using this platform to voice his displeasures with racial issues this country faces.
Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and numerous WNBA players and teams are among those who have stood up and protested or voiced their displeasures with what is happening in this country in terms of racial injustice. What Kaepernick did is no different, it just doesn’t sit well with certain people. Again, he never once said anything about disrespecting the men and women who proudly defend this country nor did he say anything bad about police officers.
There were divided reactions amongst NFL players on Twitter.
the flag represents freedom. the freedom to choose to stand or not. that’s what makes this country beautiful. … https://t.co/Ev5D9ACe78
— Feeno (@ArianFoster) August 27, 2016
People mad Kaepernick sat during the national anthem in protest, but they aren’t mad about the injustice he’s protesting. That’s the point.
— Sam White (@samwhiteout) August 27, 2016
People are outraged at the fact he chose a national anthem to demonstrate his protest, yet are turning their heads to why he is actually protesting. This isn’t a cry for attention to himself, but to the United States instead. Minorities should not have to feel targeted or shouldn’t be afraid whenever a police officer approaches them. Too many times we have seen how that story tragically unfolds.
Here’s another interesting note on this situation; Kaepernick protests his displeasure for the direction this country is heading and is chastised for it, yet Donald Trump has said he plans to build a wall on the border of the United States and Mexico and he has a shot to be the next president of this country. Something about that just doesn’t sit right.
Naturally, Kaepernick has received a ton of support and backlash from his decision to protest. Some of the people who have decided to use their social media platform to voice their displeasure with him have resorted to call him the “N” word, the most repulsive word in the English language, yet don’t get why he would protest on a matter such as this. Those people are missing the point while also enforcing the point Kaepernick was trying to make.
Before people bash him for his stance on this and how he chose to go about protesting it, they should put themselves in his shoes and see his point of view before saying he is disrespecting this country. If you felt discriminated against, wouldn’t you want to bring that injustice to light in the hopes of it being corrected? The United States of America is all about freedoms and equalities, yet many find issues or take offense to what Kaepernick did. What is more American than standing up for what you believe in no matter the cost?
“I think it was beneficial. Kap talked to us about it and I think he made some valid points … That’s why I think the conversation is needed. I think the guys handled it well. We were open to each other’s opinions. It was impressive.” – Anthony Davis,OffensiveGuard -49ers
As for those who work with him every day, the quarterback addressed his team yesterday about the issue. Sharing his thoughts and having an open dialogue with them. While they all may not have agreed with the manner in which he chose to take his stand, many see the point he’s trying to make and respect it. In sports, the team is just like family, it’s who you spend the majority of your time with. Him wanting to have that conversation with them shows how much he’s thought this out and that he doesn’t want it to become an issue that breaks or fractures the locker room. Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle has more player reactions on their teammate’s stand. Kap also discussed the “distraction” topic along with sharing his thoughts on those in the military, videos below courtesy of Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group.
— Cam Inman (@CamInman) August 29, 2016
— MICKEY BLACK (@mickeyblk09) August 29, 2016
Social injustices and inequalities are rampant throughout this great country, yet people don’t want to acknowledge it unless they can hashtag it. Colin Kaepernick is an African-American NFL quarterback who used a form of protest with the platform he was blessed to have in order to express his displeasures with how his fellow African-Americans and minorities are treated in this so-called “equal” country.