Colin Kaepernick: The Gray Area of Protesting the National Anthem

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Colin Kaepernick no longer stands for the National Anthem, and his support is growing. Photo Credit: Mike Morbeck, Flickr.com

A protest can get the word across effectively. A cause can travel through powerful means and speak volumes for all to hear.

Unfortunately, that message can be tainted and turned so gray, you’re not sure whose side you support.

Such is the case of Colin Kaepernick. The San Francisco 49ers’ backup quarterback didn’t stand during the national anthem in an August 26 home preseason game against the Green Bay Packers. To say it caused controversy is just the tip of the iceberg.

What stirred the pot was his reasoning behind it. Kaepernick won’t stand for the national anthem because of what the flag represents. He explained to Steve Wyche of NFL Media:

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. 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.”

He’s right about one thing; this is more than just about football. And from some military members to fellow football players, he’s not alone.

Sports Illustrated’s Peter King ran a Twitter poll to see whom the majority of fans would side with Kaepernick. In that poll, 51% said yes.

Kaepernick’s protest originally garnered more attention upon himself than the cause itself. It defeated his whole purpose in trying to raise awareness for a noble act.

After all, we’re dealing with issues that cannot be fixed on the field.

It’s notable comparing Kaepernick to others who had problems with the anthem. Perhaps the most surprising on that list is Jackie Robinson.

Robinson stated in his autobiography how he had problems with what the American flag represented. He wrote how he would never “have it made” no matter what he did.

That speaks volumes for what his family went through and what entire race goes through. Factor in how the original version of the National Anthem had a derogatory verse that puts these issues in perspective.

Colin Kaepernick is using his right to speak freely. The problem comes at a price. Everything is picked on to a point. Kaepernick didn’t make it easier for himself, as he wore a Fidel Castro shirt after his protest.

Why is that important, you ask? Simple; he wore the shirt of one of the biggest oppressors in history.

It’s an ignorant act to protest about oppression while wearing a shirt of a staple of persecution.

In other words, how we represent ourselves while standing up for what we believe in is just as important.

The American flag symbolizes the values of a country. That means more than the people living and defending it. It’s more meaningful than bills and elections.

It means all of the above and so much more. That comes with a lot of baggage and the pain the country has went through.

The issue is being discussed. ESPN recently aired The Undefeated Conversation, which was led by Jemele Hill in finding out how to stop the violence.

Earlier this year featured LeBron James Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul stood united at this year’s ESPYs, imploring the world to end the senseless violence.

These peaceful ways get people talking without causing attention to one person. We thought Colin Kaepernick was originally selfish, but that’s not the case anymore.

Despite the serene protest not to stand, we as a society must remember the real fight.

The real battle is going out there and coming together to make change. After all, it’s what we can do for each other, not just what one person can do for us.

Remember to check out the Facebook page for the Update. You can also check out my professional website for my other works and accomplishments. Don’t forget to like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter and keep on reading. Until then, watch sports you knuckleheads!

Yours Truly,

Sebastian Maldonado

Copyright @ 2007

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