49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been making lots of headlines recently, and not for the reasons you would normally expect. Rather than drawing attention from his play on the football field, he’s been drawing attention by standing on the sidelines, or sitting actually.
During the national anthem at the 49ers preseason games, Kaepernick has refused to stand and honor our country due to the very real issue of racial oppression that still takes place in America today. Kaepernick made his intentions clear when he said “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” Since then Kaepernick has also made clear that he is not anti-American and does not want to show any disrespect to the military or any other good service that is worshipped through the national anthem. He backed up his words by having a long conversation with former soldier and brief Seahawks long-snapper Nate Boyer on coming up with ways to make this protest not offensive to anybody who finds it so. That is why at the most recent preseason game against the Chargers, Kaepernick was kneeling next to Boyer instead of sitting like he did at the previous game. With all that being said, here is how I feel about it.
There are a number of different ways that one can react to a peaceful but powerful protest like this. Kaepernick has received a lot of hate and negative reviews for his actions, which is expected, but he has done a very intelligent job of taking in that criticism and speaking out about it. He has made himself look like less of a villain and more of a man who simply wants to fix the problem of racism in the United States without showing disrespect to anything else. And I believe he is. Look, Kaepernick is simply a man using his fame and power to try and make the country he lives in a better place in the most peaceful way possible. In the beginning when he sat during the anthem he was being disrespectful to the military and all the good things that the flag stands for across the country, but he realized that and took the extra step necessary by kneeling to brush off his negative image and make it known that he meant no harm. Kaepernick deserves creds for that.
But with all that being said there were a number of ways Kaepernick could have gone that wouldn’t have produced a negative image at all and instead would have saved him from all this chaos to begin with. For example, he could have worn something on him that drew attention to injustice in society, or he could have written an article on The Player’s Tribune about his feelings, or maybe he could have started a campaign in an effort to ultimately put an end to racial oppression. He even could’ve at least announced what he was going to do in regards to sitting out the national anthem before he did it instead of just doing it out-of-the-blue to in a way soften the blow a little. There are a countless number of ways Kaepernick could have attacked this problem, and he chose the bravest and gutsiest one of them all.
I, for one, would not perform such a bold move like this and I’m sure many others wouldn’t as well. But even though his actions are pretty extreme, I support Kaepernick because he had the guts to do it and he had the right intentions in mind. The problem of racism has been a main cause of concern in the United States especially for centuries now. With racial oppression continuing even in the modern day, most recently with the police brutality killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, it is very important for people with fame and power to take a stand once and for all. The NBA has already started it with stars such as Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Paul, and most notably Carmelo Anthony speaking out and calling out others. It’s nice to see that Kaepernick has received that message and has begun to take a stand himself.
If it were a week ago I would have whole-heartedly disagreed with Kaepernick’s actions. But since then he has said and done all the right things to back up his position. He’s just a man who is willing to do whatever it takes to change the United States for the better. So even though there were better ways to achieve that same goals, as I mentioned earlier, I applaud this man for doing what he did. This will pay off and make a difference in the long run. Good job Kaepernick.