If you asked me a month ago who Colin Kaepernick was I probably wouldn’t be able to give you any sort of answer. Its no secret I’m not big on sports..at all. August 26, 2016 Kaepernick did something that caused a lot of heads to roll. He sat, now if you’re not familiar with any of what’s been going on you’re probably sitting there reading this like “I sit everyday, I don’t have articles written about me”, but our dear friend Kaepernick sat during the National Anthem. Kaepernick, just like myself and any other person in this world with a heart is tired of seeing the way POC are being treated in this world. He decided to sit during the NA and in his first statement about his protest he announced that he would be sitting during the NA, during each game until there is some type of change. His official statement can be read below.
“I’m going to continue to stand with the people that are being oppressed. To me, this is something that has to change. When there’s significant change and I feel that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent, and this country is representing people the way that it’s supposed to, I’ll stand.”
“This stand wasn’t for me. This is because I’m seeing things happen to people that don’t have a voice, people that don’t have a platform to talk and have their voices heard, and effect change. So I’m in the position where I can do that and I’m going to do that for people that can’t.”
“It’s something that can unify this team. It’s something that can unify this country. If we have these real conversations that are uncomfortable for a lot of people. If we have these conversations, there’s a better understanding of where both sides are coming from.”
“I have great respect for the men and women that have fought for this country. I have family, I have friends that have gone and fought for this country. And they fight for freedom, they fight for the people, they fight for liberty and justice, for everyone. That’s not happening. People are dying in vain because this country isn’t holding their end of the bargain up, as far as giving freedom and justice, liberty to everybody. That’s something that’s not happening. I’ve seen videos, I’ve seen circumstances where men and women that have been in the military have come back and been treated unjustly by the country they fought have for, and have been murdered by the country they fought for, on our land. That’s not right.”
Kaepernick later began to take a knee because of the criticism he was receiving from critics. Now, when I first got wind of his protest, I have to be honest I did not think he’d get the support he’s been receiving. I did however, expect him to receive the backlash he’s been receiving. Twitter now is a place for people with no profile pictures to “troll”. Proving Kaepernick’s point, by calling him racial slurs and saying they hope he injures himself. Now everyone who is against him problem supposedly, is that he’s disrespecting veterans. He’s disrespecting veterans by not rising for a flag that they fight for.
When I read Kaepernick’s statement, I automatically understood him. He’s not disrespecting veterans or current members who serve for this country. Nor is he saying he hates America. All he’s saying is that police brutality is a very realistic problem we have been and are currently dealing with, and it’s always mainly POC at the short end of that stick. Whether you’re African- American, Chinese-American, Latin-American etc.. you’re still American and these rights and these freedoms that these brave people fight for day in and day out apply to you also. You shouldn’t have to worry about being profiled because of your skin. You shouldn’t have to worry about being murdered because your car broke down. You deserve the same justices as the majority.
The amazing thing about this protest is while people were claiming Kaepernick’s peaceful protest was such a disrespectful thing to do, veterans from all over came out in support. They started a hashtag for him #VeteransForKaepernick.
I think a lot of people forgot, veterans don’t only fight to protect the Country. They also fight to protect Freedoms that this Country comes with. One little amendment sticks out to me..oh yeah, that’s right, the first. Which is the right to freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of Religion and free to peacefully protest. Wait? so these veterans that Kaepernick is “disrespecting”, by peacefully protesting actually fight for his right to do this? That’s right! Peacefully protesting is literally YOUR RIGHT. So when you practice that right and get called names and receive death threats you’re the unpatriotic one? A man named Trent Dilfer, once again I do not watch sports so I couldn’t tell you who he is. This man, said that Kaepernick is a backup quarterback who needs to stay in his place. What does that even mean? Rosa Parks was a woman of color who decided to sit in the front of bus, where would I be allowed to sit today if she “stayed in her place”. Martin Luther King Jr gave one of the most influential speeches in history. He gave this speech during a time of racism, segregation etc.. imagine if he “stayed in his place”. People may think where am I going comparing these three scenarios, but in a nutshell these are/were all three people fighting for the same thing equality, respect and fair treatment for POC. To some Rosa and Martin were “just backup quarterbacks” not literally, but they didn’t have the right to voice their opinion they were just “niggers”.
Kaepernick didn’t only receive support from veterans but he also gained a lot of support from children’s basketball and football teams. One team that stood out to me was a youth football team in Beaumont, Texas. Who decided to kneel with the support from their coach, during the National anthem. Now, these are children I’m speaking of let’s keep that in mind. You’d think that would keep the crazies away, but nope they began to receive death threats too and began to be called racial slurs. An old coach for the team actually said he was disgusted in the teams actions because the reason they get to play football is because of the veterans. No, actually the reason they get to play football is because all the African-American leaders and revolutionaries who fought for their right to have these freedoms. That’s another story for another article though. My last point on this whole situation is, the National anthem was written in 1814. Slavery officially ended in 1863 so there’s no way the National anthem was written to represent African-Americans in any way shape or form. The third stance of the song shows that. Not to mention the man who wrote the National anthem OWNED slaves during the time he wrote the National anthem. So there’s no way you can tell me he wrote this anthem for black lives when he didn’t value them.
Growing up, whenever I heard the National anthem I was never moved. Not because I don’t love being an American or because I’m unpatriotic. I just never connected to it. I won’t say what I know now is the reason, because I was just a child. I will say knowing what I know now I’m glad I felt no connection to it. People are so mad about Kaepernick’s protest instead of the reason he’s protesting. How about being mad at the fact that we’re in 2016 and AMERICANS are still being treated differently because of their skin, or religious beliefs. How about people get mad at the fact that numerous unarmed men are being MURDERED by officers with no type of justice being served? In a world where Trump is running for president and promotes nothing but hate be a Kaepernick and fight for equality and exercise those rights that our vets fight for. Lastly to the veterans, thank you for your service.
Written By Seanae Haywood
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