Kaepernick: “This is Bigger than Football”

Colin Kaepernick, the backup quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, continues to make headlines, because he refuses to stand for the national anthem. Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the anthem to protest racial injustice and minority oppression sparked incredible controversy among the public when he sat on the bench before the 49ers preseason game against Green Bay.

Kaepernick publically stated while he was in the locker after the Green Bay 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.” Kaepernick said he is aware of what he is doing and knows the actions he is performing will not sit well with the fans and other players.Though Kaepernick has received harsh comments about his decision to sit, many players are standing behind Kaepernick’s protests, including fellow teammate Eric Reid. Reid joined Kaepernick in kneeling for the National Anthem on Monday night, September 12, in their game against the Los Angeles Rams, in which they came out victorious and won 28-0. Kaepernick’s message has spread throughout the world of professional sports, including the NWSL. Professional soccer star Megan Rapinoe is a midfielder for Seattle Reign and the Women’s National Soccer Team. On Sunday night, before Seattle Reign’s game against the Chicago Red Stars, Megan Rapinoe knelt during the National Anthem “in a little nod” to Colin Kaepernick.

Though fellow athletes continue to join Kaepernick in kneeling for the anthem, many people believe what he is doing is disrespectful towards the men and women who have served this country. Leo Uzcategui, a former Navy Seal, responded to Kaepernick’s protest by saying “I was in the Navy, and I saw men and women bleed and die for this flag. If he wants to do something, go to some outreach program where he can do some good. Don’t sit during the presentation of the colors, and you don’t sit during the National Anthem. That is not the way to do it.” Not only are people protesting about Kaepernick’s decision to kneel, Kaepernick jerseys, beanies, and jackets have been publically burned and videotaped as a sign of protest towards his decision. Kaepernick’s jersey has been the highest selling jersey in the NFL in the past week. A study shows that fifty-seven percent of people disapprove of Kaepernick’s method while thirty three approve of his decision. The question remains, “Is Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the National Anthem the correct way to protest?”  

By: Carsyn Arvan

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