Kaepernick Takes a Stand by Sitting Down

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Laura Rico

Kaepernick's actions sparked outrage across the nation.

Thomas Harley, Staff Writer

In the midst of social unrest, athletes are starting to stand up and express their dissatisfaction with the injustices that have recently occurred. One specific athlete, an NFL player for the San Francisco 49ers, has decided that sitting down is the way to spur change. Colin Kaepernick, a 28 year old quarterback in the midst of an injury riddled career, has made great waves in the media for refusing to stand for the National Anthem during one of his games. While many agree with his actions, the way he is going about his protest has been met by extreme and almost unprecedented criticism. But with every issue, there are two sides, and there are still many supporters of Kaepernick’s that have no problem with what he is doing. Nonetheless, Kaepernick has certainly made a bold statement for himself, whether good or bad, to begin this year’s NFL season.

The American flag, an important symbol to many citizens of the US, represents independence and freedom. For decades, before public events, the National Anthem is sung to honor the ideals that the American flag stands for. When someone disrespects the flag, they are disrespecting their country and all who put their lives on the line for it. When Colin Kaepernick first sat for the National Anthem before their first game versus the Houston Texans, he immediately catalyzed a reaction from both his former supporters and skeptics alike. Videos surfaced around the internet showing Kaepernick’s jersey being burned as the National Anthem played softly in the background, but in no way do the people think this is a humorous issue. This was a somewhat humorous attempt at expressing there contempt for him.

Many fellow athletes and even former teammates began to speak out on the social media platform Twitter. Tyler Polumbus, an offensive lineman in the NFL, wrote “Activists changed USA for better but have to associate National Anthem with military that die for your right to protest. Stand up. Find another way.” He clearly, regardless of Kaepernick’s cause, feels that sitting down for the Anthem is not a proper method of protest.

Cavalier Football coach Roger Pollard also spoke out on the issue. He stated that even though the country can never be perfect and life will be unfair, the ultimate disrespect is to “disrespect our flag.”

Overall, the problem with Kaepernick and his decision to sit is not at all concerning the cause behind it. Many agree strongly with him that there needs to be a change in the oppression and racism still present in our country today. The problem is his way of going about it. Moms, dads, sons, and daughters die every year for our country, and to not give them the full respect is outrageous.

Kaepernick’s main supporters believe that he has every right to sit down during the National Anthem. A trending hashtag, #VerteransforKaepernick, is used by many former soldiers who believe they fought for the Constitution every day, and this constitution gave him every right to sit. While it might not be a popular position, there are definitely people who look past it and see the deep roots of his cause.There is also a certain hypocrisy behind the ballistic outbreak of the public. NFL players have gotten away with serious criminal offenses that people seem to forget in the blink of an eye. But Kaepernick has been retaliated with a fiery response from the public, which is ironic when reviewing the severity of his, and others, “offenses”.

“I don’t believe he’s wrong, and I think that if he believes there is injustice in this country and he wants to express his constitutional right to question the authority of the government then he is justified in peacefully doing so,” senior Holden Payne said.

But the question must be asked- is this protest really going to be create the change needed. A donation, from his seven digit contract, to one of the numerous causes that deal with the social disparities of today would be much more effective. His image in the public eye has gone south, as people see his money and fame and begin to ridicule him for talk about “oppression”. Maybe its great that he doesn’t care what people think of him, but in no way does this help his already struggling career. Numerous NFL executives have anonymously spoken out about how they would never want him on their team. There are so many other ways he could’ve protested the issue that so many appeal to, but he chose the one that was probably seen as “crossing the line” by America.

Regardless of opinion on his cause, Colin Kaepernick’s decision-making this week has been under fire. He is certainly making a name for himself as a social advocate, but a large portion of America is strongly against the blatant disrespect he is showing to the flag, and the people that put their lives on the line for it.