By Taylor Gilkey
Colin Kaepernick has created an uproar throughout America, because of his refusal to stand up to the American flag. Instead of standing with the rest of his teammates, Kaepernick decided to kneel. Kaepernick tells 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,”. Americans became outraged at his actions, flooding social media with comments about their disagreements with how he decided to show his opinion. According to Sports Blog Nation, Kaepernick had been sitting through the National Anthem for the first two games of the 49er’s preseason, he just was not dressed out for those games, therefore no one noticing the stance that he was taking. It was not until the third preseason game against the Green Bay Packers that he was seen, because that was the first game of the preseason that he played.
What about the First Amendment? Freedom of speech is also something that America stands for. Kaepernick has a right to his opinions, and to freely express them. If that is taken away from him, then there is an entirely different conversation that social media needs to flood it’s timelines with.
The people that are believed to be the most offended by Kaepernick’s actions are the people who are in, or have family members in, the military. “What about the people that are fighting for our freedom,” or “That is disrespectful to our troops”.
This has nothing to do with our military. The work that they do will always and forever be considered work of the strong and the brave. Kaepernick has nothing against the military. His concern is with the side of America that allows black people to be treated in such a way that the lives of an entire race are not even protected on our own home ground. There are so many soldiers fighting for us elsewhere, but who is fighting to protect us on our own streets and in our own neighborhoods? Of course not all policemen are bad, but there are still some holes in the justice system where it seems that if a policemen commits the crime, the law doesn’t necessarily apply to them, creating the feeling that they can do whatever they want to and not have to worry about the consequences.
For example, according to CNN, Sandra Bland’s family recently settled for $1.9 million for wrongful death, but her death was ruled as a suicide. If the cause of death was suicide, why is there a wrongful death, and if it is a wrongful death, who is responsible for it? Why isn’t anyone being charged with anything? There are many cases like this that go unanswered, as if those lives do not matter.
There are more athletes who stand behind Kaepernick’s decision to kneel. Kansas City Chiefs player Marcus Peters, Miami Dolphins players Arian Foster, Jelani Jenkins, Kenny Stills and Michael Thomas and even soccer player Megan Rapinoe have also decided to kneel, just to name a few. This shows that there is still a problem in America whether it was expressed appropriately or not.
An African-American’s stomach shouldn’t drop when they get pulled over because they remember what happened to Philando Castile. They shouldn’t have to rehearse with their children how to be pretty much motionless when dealing with an officer so they can have a better chance at not being shot, because the officer may think that he/she was reaching for a weapon. This may not apply to everyone, but I am tired of being angry, I am tired of being scared, and I am tired of feeling defeated. I want the same justice as everyone else.
So, people are wondering why Colin Kaepernick doesn’t want to stand during the national anthem and why it seems that the black community doesn’t trust the police. With everything that is shown in the media, if you were a black man would you trust the police? Would you want to stand for an country that doesn’t stand for you?