By Jojo Dominick
We asked two members of our team to write columns giving their opinion of Colin Kaepernick’s protest of The Star Spangled Banner.
On August 14, 2016, Colin Kaepernick decided to sit during the singing of the national anthem.
This latter gained tons of attention, which sent both positive and negative feelings throughout the country.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said.
While many may disagree, I agree with what Colin Kaepernick has done and is continuing to do.
Racism and police brutality have risen to a national occurring problem the past few years. The killings of innocent colored people by our own police force have sent negative waves throughout our nation. When the media would cover these issues, it would anger people for a few days, and then the issue will die down and no one would talk about it until the next issue occurs. Because I heavily disagree with violent protesting, what better way to protest than the way Colin Kaepernick has the past two months? Kaepernick is simply taking a knee during the national anthem because he feels our flag and country don’t properly represent what they’re supposed to.
Kaepernick didn’t do anything obnoxious or overly disrespectful. What he’s doing is a quiet and peaceful protest. In fact, the first few times he did it, he sat towards the back of the bench trying not to attract any attention to himself. It wasn’t until his third time sitting that the media finally took notice and gave it the attention this issue deserves. At that point, Kaepernick eloquently and articulately expressed himself and how he felt about the rising problem.
So what exactly is his motive? What is he hoping to gain out of this? Kaepernick stated he is hoping to raise awareness and shed light on the issue. He hopes something will change with our police force. He feels that if he gets enough people talking about it, then just maybe something positive will come of it. He’s also trying to give a voice and speak up to the people who don’t have one, which in this case, are the people of color being oppressed.
As the weeks went by, numerous of players from across the NFL, NBA, college football, and high school football, as well as cheerleaders, college bands and even people who sing the national anthem at the start of huge events and games have decided to protest with Kaepernick by taking a knee. I’m confident the message is being sent across the country, and because of that something positive will come of this. Both presidential candidates have put it on their agenda to talk about this issue, and what they could possibly do to help the racial injustices across the country.
This is also one of the most unselfish things I’ve witnessed by a celebrity in my life. Because of the many negative reactions that stemmed from this topic, Kaepernick has lost endorsement opportunities. He has put the future of his job at risk because of possible unwanted media attention amongst the San Franscisco 49ers football team, and potential problems that could arise within their team locker room. With all of this at the helm, Kaepernick still decided to stand up for what he believes in. He also stated that he would donate the first million dollars he received from his contract to charities that focus on racial issues, just to show that this his stance goes further beyond football and money. In other words, Kaepernick risked losing everything, both football and money, just to raise awareness on police brutality and social injustice in our country.
Lastly, you may say he’s disrespecting the military veterans that fight for our country and give us all the opportunity to be free and to have rights, but I disagree. Our veterans fight for our country so we can have the right to be free, to protest and to exercise our rights. Why is it a problem to some that Kaepernick is exercising his rights? Kaepernick took the time to meet with former Green Beret Nate Boyer to discuss his protest and to express to him that what he was doing was not anti-American or anti-military. After having that conversation, Boyer agreed and understood his stance. However, it did lead to Kaepernick’s change from sitting during the national anthem to kneeling to show a bit more respect for the military.
To the people who are looking at Kaepernick’s stance as an attack against America or the military: I urge you to look deep into your heart and realize that you indeed may be a part of the problem. You’re upset because a man is peacefully protesting by taking a knee, but fail to look at the reason why, which is because innocent people are losing their lives due to racial profiling leading to police brutality. Your heart should be with those families who will never see their family member again, the kids who have to live life without their mother or father and the families who are now devastated that a member of their family has been taken away by someone who serves to protect us in our community. Look into the mirror and ask yourself, “What is Colin Kaepernick doing to me that I should feel such hatred towards him?” Focus on the reason for his protest, not the action being done by Kaepernick, and you will understand this issue. Then you’ll have a better grip on why people across the country have joined him in this peaceful protest.