In the late summer months of 2016 Colin Kaepernick took a stand by not standing.
During preseason games in the middle of August, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback began sitting while the national anthem was being played before the game. He continued this for three games before anyone took notice. After the protest finally gained recognition Kaepernick was contacted by a former green beret who asked him to at least kneel during the nation’s song rather than sit. Kaepernick compromised, and for the rest of the 2016-17 season the player knelt during the playing of the “Star Spangled Banner.” Of course this caused an uproar among the nation’s most patriotic people who deemed it disrespectful in a variety of ways. The hate rained down but Kaepernick continued his protest, and other athletes began to join him. The question then became should athletes be required to stand during the anthem? Should this type of protest even be allowed?
In my opinion, these athletes have every right to protest in this manner. They are protected by our bill of rights, giving them the right to peacefully protest. Is it the most appropriate vehicle to use to raise awareness? Maybe not, but that doesn’t mean these athletes are doing anything wrong. Their actions forced a conversation that needed and still needs to be had. They had a problem with the way our government was handling an issue in this country and they started a movement towards change, and I respect that so much.
I also believe that those who are offended by the protest have every right to be as well. That is the beauty of living in the land of the free, we get to have opinions and act on them as long as we are not harming someone else in the process.
I say keep protesting, force those uncomfortable conversations, help make change because at the end of the day we all need to coexist here and it is important that everyone is treated equally.