Colin Kaepernick is no longer best known for being an NFL quarterback. He’s now best known for attacking the freedoms of the United States of America.
That, or he’s now best known for standing up for what he believes in.
It’s an interesting debate, stemming from the San Francisco 49ers quarterback’s decision to sit (instead of standing) during the playing of the National Anthem ahead of his team’s NFL games.
When asked about it following San Francisco’s most recent preseason content, Kaepernick said that he refused to stand in support of the anthem of a country that continues to oppress African Americans.
More specifically, following the game, Kaepernick as quoted as saying:
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder”.
This could be taken one of two ways. Perhaps Kaepernick referred to what Michael Moore pointed out on Twitter:
Maybe Kaepernick isn’t even that complex, though. Maybe he’s just not a fan of how America’s government and policing is run. With all of the recent killings involving police and African American men, it’s understandable that Kaepernick could see the United States as a country not really getting behind the black community.
It’s also possible Kaepernick intended to confront both issues with his decision to sit, rather than stand. Whether it was one or both doesn’t matter. What does matter is that Colin Kaepernick is getting attacked for what he clearly believes in, and that what he believes in very well could go directly against what it is to be an American.
Is Colin Kaepernick Right?
The dilemma at hand is to decide whether or not Kaepernick has a point.
Black men absolutely are getting killed by cops. That is happening. That being said, there is a fairly valid argument that suggests a few things:
- Black men are not the only people being killed by cops
- These deaths are rarely caused without reason
- Cops are also being killed
Regardless of which side of the fence you are on, this is just the blunt truth. A report from The Daily Wire in July reveals startling data that clearly shows us that more white men are killed by cops than black men.
There is other interesting data to consider, but the point is it’s quite possible things have been a bit skewed or portrayed inaccurately in the media.
For whatever reason, there tends to be intense uproar for these killings, yet people tend to ignore the fact that the majority of these deaths result from the victim carrying a weapon or even being aggressive.
That itself is quite subjective, which complicates the argument even further.
But Kaepernick isn’t the first person (or even the first athlete) to be upset about black men being killed by police or African Americans in general being oppressed. None of that is new.
He is, however, diving into this layered argument with a very interesting stance. It’s not one that is anti-police or even just anti-government. It’s one that goes against everything that it is to be American – the flag and the National Anthem.
Whether or not you buy what Colin Kaepernick is selling, there is no denying that he is a hot name right now and that what he’s doing has pushed a lot of buttons.
We obviously need to keep in mind that this was his point all along. He probably felt that the chatter about black men unnecessarily being killed had died down and he took it upon himself to get the discussion brewing again.
No one can fault him for caring or for doing something to remind people that everything is not exactly right with the world these days.
And really, Colin Kaepernick does have a point. Black men are being killed, there is violence (and bodies, as he says) in the streets and there is absolutely an ugly history of the African American people being held back by the media and the government.
But this wasn’t the way to go about proving a point.
Kaepernick’s defiant stand against the United States by refusing to honor a rich tradition simply made him a pariah and even got his former head coach up against him.
Jim Harbaugh, now the coach of the Michigan Wolverines, stated that he respected Kaepernick’s plight, but didn’t approve of how he went about it.
Many are aligning with Harbaugh’s rationale here. There is a long list of celebrities, politicians and athletes that probably agree with Kaepernick’s core beliefs, but there is a very short list of people that would be willing (much less even remotely consider) in any way pitting themselves against the United States to further their agenda.
In fact, the word agenda pops up when one thinks of Colin Kaepernick’s recent statements and decision to sit during the playing of the National Anthem.
Intended or not, are Colin Kaepernick’s actions and words making this entire thing more about him than the actual issue he’s supposedly standing up for?
That can’t be Kaepernick’s actual goal here, but it’s arguable that his intentions have been dumped at the wayside while the media has ripped him apart and cast him as some sort of traitor to the country.
Kaepernick isn’t a traitor and he’s not even a bad American. He’s just an athlete who wanted to get his point across and did so in a really foolish way.
That decision has made him an outcast in the media, could very well play hand in his ultimate departure from the San Francisco 49ers and has even garnered him death threats.
The real issue about the Colin Kaepernick situation is that it probably shouldn’t be a situation. He’s arguably foolish to be doing what he’s doing, but per NFL rules, he’s not doing anything wrong. In fact, players are encourage to stand for the National Anthem, but in no way are required to do so.
The fact that Kaepernick is privileged, rich and famous shouldn’t deter from his attempt to do some good by taking some heat. In fact, all of the things being used against him for his decision actually benefit his stance. Despite all of the good things Kaepernick has, he’s still willing to risk it to prove his point if it can mean helping other people.
Even if you don’t agree with Kaepernick’s views or decision to act out on them, you probably should agree with one thing: his right to do/say whatever he wants.
Colin Kaepernick might not be completely right about what he’s doing or saying, but it’s his American right to act on it, whether you agree with it or not.