Colin Kaepernick Brings America to its Knees

Allison Fitz and Faye Prekeges

Regardless of the situation, when “The Star Spangled Banner” begins, Americans place their right hand on their heart, remove hats and sunglasses, and most notably, stand. This practice is adapted to show respect for everything that represents “the home of the brave.” On August 26th, San Francisco 49’s quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, sparked a movement by publicly choosing to remain seated.

Kaepernick’s actions immediately sent a shock wave of responses nationally. People of all backgrounds joined the discussion — some were brutally offended, others praised his courage. Kaepernick justified his choice to sit during the anthem in three words, “Black Lives Matter.” When asked by the NFL media what made him decide to stage such a public and controversial protest, he 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.”

Recently, Colin Kaepernick’s movement has spread to our own backyard. On an already sensitive day, September 11th, two football teams, the Miami Dolphins and the Seattle Seahawks, took a stand for their beliefs in distinct ways. Four Dolphins players, Arian Foster, Jelani Jenkins, Michael Thomas, and Kenny Stills, knelt during the National Anthem, while the Seahawks players and coaches linked arms for a united front against systemic racism.

Tensions are running high with mixed opinions regarding Colin Kaepernick’s actions. Annie Wright senior Courtney Cureton weighed in on the matter. “I respect his decision because in the past many people have tried (to do the same). Because he’s in such a place of power, I think it’s interesting that he knows can make a big impact and start a movement, and how he’s not going to be satisfied until justice is served.”

“Colin Kaepernick has every right to do what he is doing,” said history teacher Jeff Freshwater. “If all speech and expression were agreeable, protections would be unnecessary. The Constitution protects this expression, and indeed as he protests America, he demonstrates the very freedoms enshrined by that instrument. I hope the irony is not lost in that.

What is particularly vexing to me is the question about the amount of media attention given to a sports figure rather than an expert in the field. The journalistic practice of giving an inordinate amount of attention to entertainment figures (musicians, athletes, etc.) rather than expert, scholarly sources is troubling, but understandable. After all, ESPN and ABC gain more interest (and revenue) from their consumers when an NFL player expresses an opinion than when, say, Ruth Bader Ginsburg or Ted Cruz does the same.  

Finally, it seems to me that the change Kaepernick hopes to enact will take more direct and specific action than simply kneeling on a sideline. I recently read he donated one million dollars to his cause, and perhaps that will be a catalyst for positive change. It might do all sides well in acknowledging, however, that the problem as a multi-faceted one, and not simply a one-sided affair. If one hopes to unite all sides to create better relationships and prospects going forward, privileging the argument of one side to the detriment of the other, however alluring it may be, runs anathema to that goal.”


Do you believe Colin Kapernick’s actions were justified? Take our Poll.


Do you believe Colin Kapernick's actions were justified?

  • Yes, this country oppresses people of color and this is an appropriate method of protest (57%, 8 Votes)
  • Yes, while his opinions may be questionable, it is his right as an American to express them through freedom of speech. (21%, 3 Votes)
  • No, this country has come very far and his actions are disrespectful to many americans, veterans in particular (21%, 3 Votes)
  • No, he abused his power as an NFL player and intended this as a publicity stunt (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 14

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