Six years ago, Colin Rand Kaepernick was drafted into the NFL as a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. Back then, no one would have expected him to start one of the biggest debates between professional sports and politics.
With the increasing rates of police brutality in 2016, Kaepernick took it upon himself to raise awareness of the dramatic events that minorities have been battling for years.
At the start of the 2016 season, He started taking a knee for the national anthem. Kaepernick wanted to bring attention to the inequality that minorities face every day. He specified that he wasn’t kneeling for the flag, but for the country the flag represents.
At first, NFL fans were reaching out to Kaepernick with words of support but rumors started going around that some of his teammates were unsettled with his decision. However, he later addressed in an interview that his teammates and the NFL were understanding.
As the 2016 season went on, a handful of other players joined Kaepernick and took a knee for the playing of the national anthem.
After the past 2017 NFL draft, Kaepernick was not picked up by a team. It is unclear if he is left jobless because of his demonstration or the lack of needed quarterbacks for the season.
At the beginning of this season, some players continue to take a knee. The Pittsburg Steelers went as far as staying in the locker room till the anthem ended. Many NFL players wanted to express their unity without kneeling, so they stood on the sidelines with linked arms.
Nonetheless, our president did not support the kneelers and took to his favorite platform, twitter, to express his disagreement:
“If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL, or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect…”
“Sports fans should never condone players that do not stand proud for their National Anthem or their Country. NFL should change policy!”
“Great solidarity for or National Anthem and for our Country. Standing with locked arms is good, kneeling is not acceptable. Bad ratings!”
I respect Kaepernick for using his platform to voice his hopes for this country. However, he went about it the wrong way.
At the end of the day, it comes down to what the national anthem stands for to each of us. To me, it is a thank you to those fighting overseas for us each day. It symbolizes the freedom we have gained and the battles our soldiers continue to fight. Our country isn’t perfect but it is improving every single day. Standing in unity encourages greatness and peace. And I would never think twice about rising for that.
Off the field, Kaepernick continues to help his cause and won’t stop till he sees a change.