Sitting for those who can no longer stand

Photo courtesy of Fox 2.

by Aaron Aryee

In Santa Clara California, the San Francisco 49ers hosted the Green Bay packers at Levi’s Stadium for the third game of the 49ers preseason. A significant part of every sporting event is the singing performance of the national anthem, but for Colin Kaepernick the national anthem will never be the same. Kaepernick, the quarterback for the 49ers, made a decision that would completely alter his life for years to come. Kaepernick decided to take a knee in silent protest rather than stand for the performance of the national anthem. This decision has received both negative scrutiny and support from many.  “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 exclusive interview after the preseason 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.”

Similar to Kaepernick many other athletes like Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, and Derrick Rose have used their professional status to spread awareness about the injustice that surround African Americans or minorities in general. A major statement like such by a professional athlete will most certainly draw an enormousness amount of criticism. Kaepernick was well aware of the negative pliability that would be linked to himself and the 49ers organization. An NFL reporter asked Kaepernick what he thought others were saying about his decision and he responded with “this is not something that I am going to run by anybody, I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed. If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right.” Many athletes from all over the nation have voiced their opinion in either agreeance or disapproval of Kaepernick’s silent protest.

Kapernick’s protest has attracted the support of an important figure to this nation. A few weeks after Kaepernick’s decision, the President of the United States was there to back him on his protest. During a press conference when asked about Kaepernick, President Obama stated “I think he cares about some real legitimate issues that have to be talked about, and if nothing else, what he’s done is he’s generated more conversation around some topics that need to be talked about.” Despite support from the president, many people will disagree with the protest, including nominee for Republican party Donald Trump. After Kapernick openly called Trump a “racist”, Trump returned the statement with one of his own.  “I think it’s personally not a good thing, I think it’s a terrible thing. And, you know, maybe he should find a country that works better for him. Let him try, it won’t happen.” Most people believe that Kaepernick is disrespecting fellow soldiers by choosing to kneels during the anthem. On the other hand, others believe that his silent protest has generated so much controversy, that it has opened the eyes of influential citizens that will help resolve social injustice for minorities.