Kneel for Justice


49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and teammate Eric Reid kneel during the national anthem.

Sarah Avila, Reporter

“Please stand for the national anthem.”

Everyone in the stadium stands to salute America, the country that is their beloved home. Hats are taken off in respect, hands are placed over hearts, and some even sing along with the lyrics.

Except for one man. He remains sitting throughout the entire song, eventually gaining national attention for this simple deed.

49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick explains his silent protest as showing support for oppressed people of color and taking a stand against police brutality, two very relevant topics in the United States. He believes that by not participating in the national anthem, he will raise awareness for racial inequality and unnecessary violence in our society.

And he has. Why shouldn’t he be able to put a spotlight on current issues?

All American citizens have the right of freedom of speech and expression. Protesting during a game that is broadcasted to hundreds of thousands of people to recognize national issues should be acceptable. In fact, it should be favored.

Since the story became a trending topic, people have become more aware of the injustices in our community. Although racial inequality and police brutality can be difficult to talk about, Kaepernick’s protest has made it possible to do so openly. And once people understand these systemic problems in our society, they will be more willing to do something about it.

As the news began to make headlines, other NFL players as well as student athletes joined Kaepernick in his protest by either sitting, kneeling, or raising a fist. By using these methods of nonviolent protesting, athletes are able to voice their concerns without disrupting the peaceful environments of sports fields.

Not only is Kaepernick raising awareness, but he is also putting his money where his mouth is. The quarterback has pledged to donate $1 million and proceeds from football jersey sales to charities striving to improve the community. Following in his footsteps is San Francisco 49ers owner Jed York, who will donate $1 million to organizations that help fight inequality and improve relationships between the police force and local citizens.

On the flip side, one of the biggest controversies about the protest is that by sitting during the national anthem, Kaepernick and supporters of the protest are dishonoring the services of the American military. But this is not Kaepernick’s intention.

The quarterback deeply respects those in the armed forces and those who have fought for our country, and he wants to show it to others. Instead of sitting, he has now decided to kneel during the anthem as a sign of respect. However, accusing him of being disrespectful to the military is missing the point of his protest. The public should be focused on his message, not on throwing inaccurate criticisms.

Because let’s face it, the United States is flawed. Some like to look the other way and ignore America’s troubling problems, but this protest puts them front and center. Kaepernick is raising awareness for these issues and helping those in need so we as an American society can have a better future.

Now that’s a major win.

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