By Ryan Bonnette
San Francisco 49er’s backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick has started a movement that has created a tremendous uproar across the United States. During the preseason, Kaepernick decided that he would sit during the National Anthem. After he sat during a preseason game against the Green Bay Packers, the media began to notice his protest.
Before the next preseason game featuring the San Francisco 49ers and the San Diego Chargers, Kaepernick was the focus of intense scrutiny. Once again, he decided that he wasn’t going to stand up for the playing of the National Anthem during the opening moments of the game. This act took the entire country by storm as sports analysts chimed in on their opinions of Kaepernick’s act.
Once he took the field against the Chargers, he was engulfed by a storm of boos from the crowd. Nevertheless, he remained unfazed by the crowd’s reaction and took the 49ers offense down the field for a 15 play scoring drive. After the game, Kaepernick said loud and clear during his postgame interview that he planned on remaining seated during the playing of the National Anthem until he is “satisfied with the changes made towards racial oppression within the United States.”
In the early stages of this protest, Kaepernick faced tremendous heat for his actions as he received death threats from people all across the country. Kaepernick’s bold move did not go unnoticed as his teammate Eric Reid reached out to him stating that he had his full support. Reid stated “I support what you’re doing, let’s figure out a way that we can do this together” (Rosenthal). Reid was the first of many to follow his Kaepernick’s footsteps as the movement quickly spread to other big name athletes across the country.
Kaepernick wasn’t the only one who felt the way he did about racial oppression within the United States. Reid and Kaepernick set out on creating a way to make their movement less offensive to those men and women who have served and are serving our country without losing the message that they were peacefully trying to get across.
The two sat down with a former United States Army Soldier and long snapper named Nate Boyer in an attempt to exchange their views and ideas about the movement that Colin was so passionate about. Boyer made it clear to Kaepernick that sitting during the National Anthem was coming off as rude and angering countless citizens across the country. Boyer said that Kaepernick was extremely cooperative and was willing to find a middle ground that would display his message to others while avoiding any disrespect to the people of this country.
“I’m not anti-American,” Kaepernick said. “I love America. I love people. That’s why I’m doing this. I want to help make America better. I think having these conversations helps everybody have a better understanding of where everybody is coming from” (Wagoner). “He saw that it hurt people that he sat during the national anthem,” Reid said. “There are people that actually put their lives on the line for this country to give us freedom. We talked for a couple days, to figure out a way to be more respectful of those people and the national anthem of the country while still maintaining the stance that there needs to be things done about these issues” (Wagoner). Kaepernick began instead to kneel during the anthem as a more respectful means of getting his message across.
This movement continued to spread across the United States as numerous college and high school athletes began to follow along as well. This movement may be pushing boundaries that anger many people, but it cannot be ignored that this is very real and that issues of this nature must be addressed through public discussion.