For the past three preseason games San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sat during the national anthem. He did so to take a stance against the recent racial profiling shootings that are occurring in the United States of America. The quarterback is sitting during the national anthem until he feels like a change has been made to represent what the country should be standing for. Since making his stance public the Kaepernick has received a lot of backlash.When asked about his stance and to offer sources of racial oppression the quarter back cited police brutality in a number of cities that have resulted in the deaths of black man. He also recounted the story of him and his roommates moving out of their house and because they were the only black people in the neighborhood the police came and drew guns on them. Kapernick does not have plans to get his other teammates to join his movement and said that they are able to make that decision for themselves. Kapernick will continue to sit during the anthem and says that he has plans to do more than symbolically protest. At recent games however Kapernick has begun taking a knee versus sitting completely down during the national anthem.
Figure 1: Photo from the NY Daily News Sports by the Chris Carlson/AP
In response to Kaepernick’s sit down, many out raged Americans took to social media to express their distain towards his actions. One Northwest Miami-Dale Cop named Mesa went on a Facebook rant in an attempt to link Kaepernick’s protest to an 8-year-old-girl that was shot dead in his area. He commented saying, “Guess who will hunt these coward killers down… nope. Not that loser caca capernick. It will be the one sthat oppress and kill and get away with it while on paid leave. The ones who abuse and kill people every day.” On Houston’s SportsTalk 790am, Rodney Harris a former two-time super bowl champion who is now a football analyst for NBC said, he didn’t think the San Francisco 49ers quarterback was qualified to take a stance on race and violence in America because he is not Black. Harrison later apologized after receiving backlash on various social media sites. In his apology via twitter he apologized to the 49ers quarterback claiming to be unaware that Kaepernick is of mixed decent.
Others like NAACP President Cornell William Brooks support his cause comparing him to civil rights activist Rosa Parks. Brooks told USA Today Sports that Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand during the national anthem is similar to Rosa Parks’ refusal to give up her bus seat to a white passenger in 1955. This is just one of the many positive response that Kaepernick recently begun receiving in response to his sit-down. Since commencing his sit-down protest other NFL players have begun joining him like the Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall who kneeled during the National Anthem one Thursday night in Denver. His 49ers teammate Eric Reid kneeled with him before San Francisco’s fourth preseason game and the Seahawks cornerback Jermey Lane sat during the anthem in the preseason and said that he will continue to not stand. Another beneficial thing that has happened since Kaepernick took this stance is his jersey sales have skyrocketed. Kaepernick said that he will be donating all proceeds from his jersey sales back to the minority.
But, Kaepernick isn’t the first to sit or in Gabby Douglass case, not put their hand over their heart during the national anthem. August during the 2016 Rio Olympics after winning another medal when she and her teammates stood up during the national anthem it was televised that Gabby Douglass did not have her hand over her heart like the rest of her teammates. She was instead standing at attention with her arms to her side. It seemed like an innocent thing at first but, many people did not view it as such. People voiced their outrage on twitter sending out tweets that said, “How dare Gabby Douglass not put her hand on her heart for the American National Anthem!!” and “Gabby Douglas better put her hand on her heart or I will fly to Rio and do it for her.” Just like Kaepernick, Douglas received major backlash for just not putting her hand over her heart doing the anthem. It even went as far as her receiving her own hashtag for her actions #crabbygabby. The same incident also occurred during the Olympics be received no news time or any attention at all. Two white Americans did the exact same thing at their medal ceremony. The shot put athletes Ryan Crouser and Joe Kovacs did not put their hands over their hearts when the American flag was raised and the national anthem was performed. Nobody questioned it, nobody was outraged by it, it just went on like it was a normal okay thing to do. Leaving people to speculate that the outrage against Gabby Douglass was done simply because she was black. Honestly, the only major difference between all of these events is the race of the person which is a sad conclusion to come to.
Figure 2: Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Our troops fight hard so that we can enjoy the freedom that we love so dearly and Kaeperinck is doing just that. He is using the freedom to speak and fight for what he thinks is right and that is exactly what our troops are and do fight for. In my opinion I think that this is a great non-violent way to send a message to our Americans not only that but in the process he is able to raise money to help the cause. What’s going on right now all the police killing and the general hole that America is digging is both tiresome and played out. It makes no sense this day and age for a cop to be able to point blank kill a law abiding citizen of any race and get off with it. So I commend Kaeperinick for using his celebrity status to take a stand against these crimes. In fact thanks to him, it seems as though the NFL is now getting involved with the issue. In a Huffington Post article they discussed how the 49ers Jed York has also stepped in supporting Kaepernick by donating $1 million to organizations working to fight inequality and improve relationships between law enforcement and the surrounding communities. In addition other NFL players have come to support the cause like the Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall. I see Kaepernicks protest as a peaceful step in the right direction to help end the senseless violence.
Figure 3: Michael Zagris Via/Getty Images
These are the sites that I gathered my information from.