This Friday, San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick raised eyebrows when he refused to stand for the national anthem prior to his team’s 21-10 preseason loss to the Green Bay Packers.
“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 told NFL media during an exclusive media session following his team’s defeat.
While the 11-point loss to the Packers is not the headliner, more people are interested in whether or not Kaepernick’s actions were justifiable or just plain disrespectful.
From the quote alone, many will try to connect Kaepernick to the numerous movements that are focused around the inequality of minorities still existing in America.
I feel as if Kaepernick did not do this for those movements. Kaepernick, who was a household name seasons ago en route to leading the 49ers to a Super Bowl berth in 2012, used this moment to bring light to a sensitive subject many athletes with power usually stay quiet about due to status on a team, endorsements and so on.
“If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know I stood up for what is right,” Kaepernick said.
Kaepernick’s stance on not standing for the national anthem can be accepted by many, like myself, and at the same time be flawed by many as well. Kaepernick’s position stems from honoring a country that has had a very one-sided judicial system dealing with police forces against minorities in recent years.
Not only am I not mad at Kaepernick’s actions, I feel it was the perfect time to act. Most athletes are idle role models to the youth and their actions can be a great impact to the coming generations. Kaepernick’s actions are expanding beyond the gridiron and into the classrooms and households of millions.
Can someone really fault a man for not honoring the wrongdoing of a nation? Not to overlook all the great this country has to offer, but in the past year alone, 136 black people have been killed by the police. But people still want you to look over the fact because we are in the “Home of the Brave and Land of
Many people are taking the stance that military veterans and active soldiers did not fight for this country and Kaepernick to disrespect them like that. But let us reflect back onto what our soldiers really fight for.
Soldiers in this country fight for the right of freedom. That includes the right to free speech, the right to vote for whomever and the right to practice one’s own religion. Basically, the right to be a free individual with certain bylaws. So Kaepernick did not disrespect anyone but better yet exemplified how to properly practice and use the amendments granted as “free” American citizens.
My biggest problem with this whole situation is far from Kaepernick’s actions, but with the astounding amount of ignorance directed toward him. The biggest evil in this world today is ignorance. Point blank period. Instead of looking into the perspective of Kaepernick, everyone jumped to the conclusion of him being disrespectful and “un-American.” I am certain if one was to run a survey in high schools or colleges around the USA and see how many students even sing the words, yet alone know the words to the National Anthem, one will get the same result equivalent to Kaepernick’s actions.
Let us go even further and analyze some of the forgotten lyrics of the National Anthem. I warn you now, if you contain a closed mind, this one will really get your blood boiling.
“No refuge could save the hireling and slave. From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave: And the star- spangled banner in triumph doth wave. O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
These four little sentences depict the ruthless and harsh past of the United States. If you analyze closely, “No refuge could save the hireling and slave.” In the Merriam-Webster dictionary, hireling is defined as a person who works for material reward only, and we do not need to define what a slave is. No one could save these individuals “from the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave: and the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave.”
Now it may just be me, but the context of this text is clearly glorifying that individuals who were basically forced to fight this war were killed so that the glorious Star-Spangled Banner could be sung for generations. Some actually did care about the country they were fighting for, but most were probably handed a gun and told their lives or families’ lives depended on whether they went out there or not. But hey, that is irrelevant to this “great” nation. Nothing could stop these individuals from “the GLOOM of the Grave.” It is somewhat terrifying seeing that one line is still relevant in our actions today, but that is a topic for another article.
When it comes to defending America, we always want to defend how we are such a “peaceful” country and the greatest. But does an NFL player sitting on his behind really outshine all the violent actions America has done centuries prior?
I fully back Kaepernick’s decisions and hope other athletes join in with him. Everything that glitters isn’t gold, and surely enough, America’s actions, past and present, are far from prestigious.