Some things are second nature. Holding the door for someone behind you, saying please and thank you, and standing for the national anthem could all easily fall into this category. Maybe it’s just what we were taught by our parents. Maybe we just went along with what everyone else was doing. Either way, in this day and age, nothing is shielded from scrutiny.
On Friday, Aug. 26, quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the national anthem, a tradition at all sporting events that ranges from professionals all the way down to grade schools. Kaepernick stated to the NFL Media: “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” The NFL in turn released their own statement saying players are “encouraged but not required to stand during the playing of the national anthem.”
While I do appreciate Kaepernick for the peaceful nature of his protest, I feel like we time traveled backwards half a century and forgot all the progress that was made, and I do find his actions disrespectful. While America is certainly not a perfect country, I find it disgraceful to go as far as to defile your country in such a manner. It’s as if America as a whole is defined by this single obstruction and everything else that makes this country what it is just doesn’t matter. So are we to forget about our deployed troops, Social Security, and the land of opportunity? What I really don’t understand is if Kaepernick is so upset with this country and the state of things, then why is he still pocketing that crazy big NFL paycheck? Would it not make sense for him to back his ballsy statements? I think he would’ve earned a lot more respect if he had either refused or donated his paycheck when he decided not to stand. It would’ve taken his protest that much farther.
Kaepernick’s actions and words reflect his strong devotion to the Black Lives Matter movement, and I implore you to peruse his twitter as it contains few things outside the subjects of black lives matter, white supremacy, and past racial injustices.
What I find particularly ironic is that Kaepernick himself was adopted by Rick and Teresa Kaepernick, a white couple, when he was just a few weeks old. So his statements about inequality and oppression are fairly void in my eye given his upbringing, generous schooling, and drafting into the NFL. While not discrediting his superb athletic ability, I do find myself having to take his statements with a grain of salt given his own upbringing less than oppressive.
I also do have to applaud the ripple effect that was caused by Kaepernick’s actions. College and high school athletes, males and females of many sports, have followed his lead in either sitting or kneeling for the national anthem. Hundreds of photos have been posted on social media of people, kids through adults, shrouded in Kaepernick jerseys claiming their support for him and the things he stands (or sits, I guess) for. He even earned attention from President Obama who commented saying Kaepernick is simply “exercising his constitutional right.”