Kaepernick’s standoff

Ty Sugick

Colin Kaepernick — the San Francisco 49ers quarterback entering his sixth season in the National Football League — has been the buzz of the sports world over the past week due to his part in taking a stand against some of the many social issues flaring up nationally.

Kaepernick protested the national anthem by simply sitting down while the rest of the stadium stood up. Standing for the national anthem is not required, but there’s an expectation to show respect for the United States’ flag and the freedom it represents.

Although Kaepernick is receiving plenty of scrutiny for refusing to stand, he said that he will continue to do so until he sees a shift away from systemic racism in America.

Many people took to social media protesting Kaepernick for his actions. Some on social media have taken a more direct approach by using racial slurs on Twitter, while others have sided with the quarterback and seek to help promote change.

Those who have decided that callous name-calling was the best way to convey their message only proved Kaepernick’s point: citizens from his background suffer through considerable adversity.

Kaepernick sat down during his first two preseason games during the national anthem when he was not in uniform and it went unnoticed, but once he had a uniform on and sat, the issue erupted.

This hasn’t been the first case of sitting out of the national anthem in American professional sports: In 1996, then-NBA Commissioner David Stern suspended and fined Denver Nuggets guard Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf for refusing to stand for the national anthem.

When former Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper used racial slurs at a concert toward a security guard, he received virtually no punishment from Roger Goodell. The excuse of being intoxicated paired with a lackluster public apology was enough for the public to forgive him.

To add more perspective, the national anthem was created in 1814 by Francis Scott Key, but it wasn’t adopted as the the national anthem until almost a century later.

In this era, African-Americans were not even seen as people; remember the Three-Fifths Compromise in 1787 from history class? Should only three-fifths of Kaepernick stand up and be thankful for his awarded freedoms from this great country?

“The Star-Spangled Banner” was written to support the 13 colonies—not the 50 states the United States currently houses—by a man who was known to own slaves himself.

People shouldn’t care if the man sits or stands during the national anthem; it’s his First Amendment right to do so. There are plenty of other concerns circulating around the United States, and we are proving our failure to focus on the issues that actually matter.

The popular idea that Kaepernick should leave the country over his discontent is nonsensical. People cannot claim that a country is free and has an accepting culture if we tell everyone who doesn’t agree with us to leave.

To be brutally honest, I think Kaepernick’s ancestors somewhere along the way probably didn’t ask to be here, but they were forced to assimilate into this culture and accept the ideologies that it brings.

Kapernick isn’t angry with those who serve this country; he’s mad at those who govern and refuse to accept that there is a clear issue facing this country with social injustices.

If Kapernick sitting down during the national anthem infuriates you, then maybe you should ask how he feels when social injustices are swept under the rug.