Kaepernick raises awareness, without raising for the flag

When kids are taught the National Anthem, they are taught to stand. It’s tradition to rise for the anthem–with our right hand over our heart–especially before sports. However, because of the current controversy regarding police brutality in the United States, some say that standing is showing pride towards our country’s injustices.

San Francisco 49er’s quarterback Colin Kaepernick gained national attention for his protest of the national anthem–he sat instead of stood during the last two September preseason games. This brought mixed opinions and influenced not only other professional football players, but athletes from a variety of sports. Kaepernick explained to the NFL: “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” Teammate Eric Reid followed, then Seattle Seahawks player Jeremy Lane. Shortly after, Kansas City Chiefs’ Marcus Peters, and New England Patriots’ Martellus Bennett and Devin McCourty joined and raised their fists, a symbol from the 1960’s black power movement. This carried on to professional soccer when Seattle Reign FC player Megan Rapinoe knelt. Soon, high schoolers also joined on their knees. Kaepernick has even made it on the front cover of Time Magazine. Controversy surrounds these protests: is this right?



Under the U.S. Constitution, all citizens are granted the right of free speech and protest, but when those protests disrespect everything this country stands for, that’s when it becomes a problem. Standing for the national anthem isn’t just a suggestion or a guideline you should probably follow. It is recognition of everyone who gave their lives and everything this country fought for, like the very freedom and rights these protests are abusing. The U.S. is the land of the free and home of the brave, but these protesters neglect the sacrifice for that freedom. New Orleans’ Saints quarterback Drew Brees said it best: “It’s an oxymoron that you’re sitting down, disrespecting that flag that has given you the freedom to speak out.” Sitting during the national anthem is already disgraceful, but to do so on September 11th, the anniversary of such a tragedy, makes the action even more shameful. Kaepernick is spitting on thousands of the dead and everyone else proud to be an American. In spurning the National Anthem, he is spurning the entire nation. When our country is having problems, it is not the time to be ashamed, it is the time to stand with your countrymen and fix the problem. Brees agrees: “[Kaepernick] can speak out about a very important issue. But there are plenty of other ways you can do that in a peaceful manner that do not involve being disrespectful to the American flag.” In America, we confront our faults to fix them, but in Kaepernick’s hypocritical protest of the National Anthem, he is stomping on the ideals of America.



As the country undergoes problems with racial circumstances and difference of opinion, Kaepernick believes that the country as a whole doesn’t deserve to be recognized during the National Anthem.“[Sitting during the anthem is] his right as a citizen, it’s not my right to tell him not to do something,” said 49er’s coach Chip Kelly in regard to Kaepernick. Kaepernick’s choice of protest was, like his coach said, a right and his belief let him choose to voice his opinion through an nonviolent action. His protest did not physically harm anyone nor attack a race, but instead revealed that he will not stand for the national anthem of a country that accepts police brutality. The problems we are facing with ‘Black Lives Matter’ are forgotten when we praise our country. Standing for the national anthem is recognizing our country and being proud of what we do–which in this case, includes the police brutality and racial problems within America. He should be allowed to protest as did many other historical people have in the past, including Martin Luther King Jr. Our country even lies on the basis of protests and these protests are what helped gain awareness of the problems we face.  Kaepernick’s protest was to create awareness of what was happening, peacefully. It’s his right as a citizen.


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