I’m sure by now you have heard about the controversy shaking up the NFL. Last week, San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, decided that he was no longer going to stand during the playing of the National Anthem. Kaepernick stated,
“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.”
Since taking a stand, Kaepernick has not been received well by fans. Kaepernick has been greeted with profanity and obscene gestures from fans. Many fans have been outraged and have taken to social media to voice their frustration. Disgruntled fans have even gone as far as burning Kaepernick’s jersey. Kaepernick feels as though people are losing sight of what he is taking a stand against.
“I think what I did was taken out of context and spun a different way…The media painted this as I’m anti-American, anti-men-and-women of the military and that’s not the case at all. I realize that men and women of the military go out and sacrifice their lives and put themselves in harm’s way for my freedom of speech and my freedoms in this country and my freedom to take a seat or take a knee so I have the utmost respect for them.”
Although Kaepernick has received many negative reactions, there are many people that support him as well. Other NFL players have decided to take a stand and join Kaepernick’s plight. Jeremy Lane, Seattle Seahawks cornerback, showed his support for Kaepernick by taking a seat during the National Anthem. This past Thursday, Kaepernick’s teammate, Eric Reid,also kneeled during the National Anthem before the preseason game against San Diego. According to Reid,
“I just wanted to show my support for him. He wanted to make it clear that he wasn’t trying to be disrespectful to the military or the National Anthem, so he decided to change his position to be more respectful, but still bring awareness to the issues that he believes are going on in this country, and that I wholeheartedly believe exist in this country.”
There have also been Veterans and military members who have shown support for Kaepernick throughout this week. The Veterans and military members have started the hashtag #VeteransForKaeperick to show their support.
Kaepernick plans on continuing his protest during the regular NFL season. So, what are your thoughts? Do you support Kaepernick or do you feel he is being disrespectful? Let me know in the comments.
By Ronda Brooks