Colin Kaepernick and the NFL Protests

By Clayton Keeling, Copy Editor

During pre-season football games Colin Kaepernick refused to stand during the playing of the National Anthem. This has sparked controversy and led to calls of praise and punishment.

As explained in an interview with the NFL Media, Kaepernick chose not to stand in protest of police brutality and violence on Black Americans and people of color. “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 said.

It should be known that at the time there were not any NFL rules against sitting during the National Anthem, so he was allowed to do it, as well as it being under his right to protest.

However, many people were upset because they thought he shouldn’t do it. They believe his protest is disrespectful to those who have served and are serving in the U.S. Military. They don’t think it’s the right time to protest and that he should show due honor and respect by standing. To those who don’t approve of Kaepernick’s protest, it is un-American to not stand during the Anthem and that he should protest at another time.

But some veterans stand by Kaepernick, saying they fought and served for his right to protest. Other people also believe that Kaepernick should be allowed to sit, as it is his right to protest in a non-violent way and that it’s extremely American to be able to protest. Protest, in their mind, is a core American right and belief.

Kaepernick may be the one receiving a majority of the criticism, but he isn’t the only player protesting. His teammate, Eric Reid has knelt with him. And on other teams, Kenny Britt and Robert Quinn (LA players) raised their fists during the Star Spangled Banner to protest and show support. On the Dolphins, players Jelani Jenkins, Arian Foster, Michael Thomas and Kenny Stills all knelt as well. More players also protested by raising their fists and kneeling.

The protest is not just Kaepernick, who sees it as bigger than a single man kneeling. Whether you agree or disagree with Kaepernick and the many other players, or their right to protest; it is bringing to light issues that are a huge discussion in the States: police brutality and racial discrimination.

Whether people will look past their personal opinions and talk about the real issues or not, is yet to be known.