by KIERYN RUBY
San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick explains why he sat during the National Anthem at the preseason game against the Green Bay Packers when he states,“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color”. He has now kneeled in 4 games which has caused controversy across the NFL and the rest of the nation. Some people, like fellow teammate Eric Reid, amongst NFL players, and all types of military veterans support what Kaepernick is doing. However, a majority of people are sternly against what Kaepernick is doing and believe he is disrespecting the flag and all the veterans who fought for the liberties and freedoms that we have today.
Kaepernick is joining a group of pro athletes who have also decided to take a stand against racial oppression. This group consists of NBA stars Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul, LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony and several other WNBA players who use their famous status to promote what they have to say. Eric Reid has also decided to kneel with Colin at their game against the San Diego Chargers in their last preseason game. Reid showed his support of Kaepernick by stating that,”he’s not the only one who feels the way he feels”. Other players across the NFL have joined in the protest by either raising their fists, interlocking arms with their teammates, and even kneeling just like Kaepernick. Former Green Beret, Nate Boyer, has shown his full support of Kaepernick by writing an open letter to him explaining why what Colin is doing is actually patriotic and that the idea of free speech is not always popular or accepted.
Other people, however, are not as accepting of his interpretation of the first amendment. Even though he was not aiming to bash the military, that is how it was interpreted. Many military members are outraged because they think what he is doing is extremely disrespectful towards what the flag is about and what it symbolizes. 20 year navy veteran Leo Uzcategui displayed his disapproval when he stated,”I was in the Navy, and I saw men and women bleed and die for this flag”. Also, people on social media have been hating on Colin by either ranting or even posting videos of burning his jersey. Most of his haters do agree with what he is protesting for, but do not agree with how he is protesting.
Colin Kaepernick will continue his protest until some changes are made regarding racial oppression. Whether we agree or disagree with his actions, he has still brought attention to a social issue in our country that needs to change.