The face behind the NFL #TakeAKnee protest should be back on the field
Since the beginning of free America, it has always been respectful to stand during the national anthem. Men usually take off their hats and kids are hushed. However, former San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick decided to take a different approach.
Even though he began protesting the anthem on Aug. 14, 2016 and then three days later on the 17th, he started attracting attention on Aug. 20 when he took a knee during the pregame ritual.
“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 in an interview after the initial 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,”
He was later joined by teammate Eric Reid. “We chose to kneel because it’s a respectful gesture. I remember thinking our posture was like a flag flown at half-mast to mark a tragedy,” said Reid.
Currently — and a year removed from the initial display — there is a lot of talk going on about how disrespectful the protest is. Even President Trump had something to say about it. While speaking to a crowd in Alabama, President Trump said he hoped NFL players who knelt during the national anthem would lose their jobs. Most might even see the display as a sign of disrespect. Some may argue that yes, we stand for the national anthem to respect our country, however, we also stand to respect and remember those that fought and died for our country.
I think we’re all missing the point. Kaepernick is standing (or in this case, kneeling) for what he thinks is right (or in this case, wrong). The First Amendment states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Why was Kaepernick stripped of his job when he was supposedly given this right? This was one of the most peaceful and respectful ways to protest. He wasn’t engaged in conversation, and he was at least on the field while the anthem was played. After Trump’s remarks, the entire Pittsburgh Steelers team remained off the field during the anthem. In fact, most NFL teams took a knee or linked arms on the following Sunday. I say, let’s put a cap back on Kaep and give him his job back. The 49ers are nothing without him.