Opinion: Kaepernick and the National Anthem
For decades, standing for the National Anthem has been tradition in the NFL. During this time, the league makes sure its athletes, fans , coaches and staff have the opportunity to pay their respects to our country and the men and women who fight for our rights. These rights include freedom of speech, right of equality, and the right to freedom of opinion and expression. With everything that we have going on in the world, can we truly say that these rights are being upheld by America; but Colin Kaepernick seems to disagree.
The 49ers second string quarterback has taken a stand by sitting down during the National Anthem. "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” said Kaepernick. "To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."
Kaepernick’s statements are something that many people seem to agree with, and he is gaining approval from many different groups, including veterans. The movement that Kaepernick has created is also starting to gain a following with some of his teammates and those on opposing teams.
The 49ers understand that they cannot change Kaepernick’s opinion, and that they also can’t take away his right to not stand during the National Anthem. As a result, the organization is taking some negative publicity from their fans. The NFL can only encourage their players to rise for the National Anthem, there is no rule against not standing. There is nothing the organization can do about Kaepernick and his refusal to stand, but the 49ers can expect a drop in ticket sales. Hopefully winning games should help that problem.
In my opinion Kaepernick should “stand up” for what he believes in. Kaepernick has a strong following and he should use his influence to shine a light on what he feels is wrong in America. As a citizen, he has a right to speak out on whatever he wants. In recent months, unjustified acts of violence committed by police have taken place. People of color have seen unjustified acts of oppression in recent months, Kaepernick speaking out on these things is something that needed to happen in the sports world. No matter how people feel about Kaepernick’s actions, people must respect a man who will stand up for what he believes in.
Many people believe that Kaepernick’s protest will hurt his chances at getting the starting position or possibly affect his future. I believe that if the 49ers win football games, then fans will begin to support them again. In reality, there is absolutely nothing that the 49ers as an organization can do to stop Kaepernick’s protest. So as far as the reputation of the organization, the public should consider the fact that there isn’t anything they can do because Kaepernick is entitled to his rights. The 49ers have already said that Kaepernick has made the roster, so there is no getting rid of him now. The 49ers have to play the quarterback that is going to help them win games, so if he is the best quarterback then he will start despite the controversial situation.
In conclusion, I believe Kaepernick is doing a good thing. Standing up for what he believes in and using his platform to shine a light on our nation’s problems is something more professional athletes should do. His job should not be affected by his protest, and neither should the 49ers organization. The recent oppression and unjustified violence should be spoken out upon. I do however think that he should remember why and how he has the freedom to make this protest.