Star quarterback proves a point while refusing to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance

Kaepernick exercises his rights as a citizen and fights for the racial injustices by refusing to stand for the pledge of minorities that plague the Police Force

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Photo by Sadie Sedlmayr

Kaepernick hopes to prove a point by opting not to stand during the National Anthem at a pre-season game.

Standing up for what you believe in isn’t always easy and takes courage, especially when the idea you’re standing against is a symbol of the U.S. Government.

When San Francisco’s star quarterback Colin Kaepernick decided to remain seated for the National Anthem at a pre-season football game, the interrelated worlds of social networks and sports media exploded into a frenzy of epic proportions.

To some sports figures who weighed in, he became a pariah.

Kaepernick’s previous head coach, Jim Harbaugh, recently spoke out at a Michigan football conference against his former player.

“I acknowledge his right to do that,” he said. “But I don’t respect the motivation or action.”

The central motivation of Kaepernick’s protest was simple; “one nation … with liberty and justice for all.”

“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 to NFL Media in an exclusive interview after the game. “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.”

If he wants to go by what he sees all over the news about the innocent, unarmed minorities slain, Kaepernick is justified in his reasoning. By his statement alone, I can sense he is tired of seeing some of the cops responsible for these senseless murders not being punished or reprimanded.

However, I also think the media tends to blow things out of proportion in regard to the killings of minorities in general. There were times when it was later discovered there was more to the story than what we were being told.

49ers legend and Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice also disagreed with Kaepernick’s stance.

“All lives matter,” Rice tweeted on Twitter. “So much going on in this world today. Can we all just get along! Colin, I respect your stance but don’t disrespect the Flag.”

He is right as well; all lives do matter. So if all lives matter, what I don’t understand is how Kaepernick is wrong in wanting to make sure minorities’ lives are treated equally with the majority in regards to authorities? Aren’t black lives a part of the ‘all lives matter’ movement as well?

Another critic, who echoed the same sentiment as Rice was former NFL player and current NBC football analyst, Rodney Harrison. His disapproval of Kaepernick’s motivation and reasoning for not standing, however, had to do more so with racial barriers and biases than anything.

“I tell you this, I’m a black man. And Colin Kaepernick—he’s not black,” Harrison said during an interview on iHeartRadio. “He cannot understand what I face and what other young black men and black people face, or people of color face, on a every single (day) basis.”

Not all reactions to Kaepernick’s protest were negative though.

In an op-ed for Washington Post, NBA Hall of Fame center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar noted Kaepernick’s decision to take a stand against the racial injustices and inequalities that plague the nation could negatively impact his career and cost him millions of endorsements.

Abdul-Jabbar notes how Americans shouldn’t be in uproar or dismayed by Kaepernick’s choice to not stand, but should be worried and scared about the simple fact that the racial inequalities in this country have yet to be addressed.

“Failure to fix this problem is what’s really un-American here,” he said.

Niners coach Chip Kelly seems to agree with Abdul-Jabbar as well, telling reporters Kaepernick’s decision not to stand during the national anthem is “his right as a citizen.”

“It’s not my right to tell him not to do something,” Kelly said.

The NFL also released a statement, obtained by NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport: “Players are encouraged but not required to stand during the playing of the national anthem.”

This whole situation shouldn’t even be an issue. Isn’t it Kaepernick’s right as an American citizen under the constitution to stand or not? No one can force him to do anything he doesn’t want to do. The argument that he is anti-American, or being disrespectful to his country, is ignorant to say the least. It’s a written right in the constitution that he can exercise his right to free speech. Isn’t he doing just that?

The critics are in the wrong not Kaepernick. Of course, they have a right to their free speech as well, but for them to say he doesn’t makes them hypocrites. It’s his life, and at the end of the day, it’s his choice.

All Kaepernick wanted was to call attention to his beliefs on this matter, and in doing so, it’s like all of the critics don’t want to hear it. His call for change to happen within a corrupt system was instead, completely glossed over by their narrative. It didn’t matter to them the motive or the words, because they weren’t listening, all they saw was the action, and with that, he was in the wrong. My thing is was he out of line?

Also, how come everyone sees the issue, which is a growing epidemic of police brutality amongst unarmed citizens, in this country, but no one has the gall to offer their opinion or solutions? Is it because if it’s addressed then change has to happen? If so, resolve should be at the forefront of the matter.

I agree with Kaepernick’s stance on police brutality on all citizens, whether they be of any ray of color under the sun. I too am fed up with all of the violence amongst humans in general. So, hopefully, there will come a day when the world isn’t a war zone and everyone can live in peace.