Opinion: Kaepernick sits, but doesn’t stand for much more


Kendra Perry

K-Park varsity football stands for the national anthem for the game against Magnolia on August 26th.

Jacob Maple, Staff Reporter

This year has been a strange one. With social media now at the middle of most people’s lives, trends spread like wildfires. The death of a gorilla, “dabbing,” and catching imaginary monsters on your phones were just a few of 2016’s obsessions.

The most recent trend, popular among a growing number of professional and student athletes: sitting down during the national anthem.

Yes, that is correct, athletes refusing to acknowledge the Star-Spangled Banner. With many people against this, there are sadly a few people who are supporting this act.

On August 26, the country watched as Colin Kaepernick, the backup quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, sat as the rest of the stadium stood and honored this wonderful country we so often take for granted.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media in an exclusive interview after the game. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

Although Kaepernick is right about the bodies in the street – police all over the country have been under fire for the killings of people of color – he has taken a very narrow stance on the issue.     

Although I acknowledge Kaepernick’s right to sit instead of showing respect to the flag, I personally believe there is more he can do if he truly wants to make a difference.

He makes almost $20 million a year, so turning around and saying people of color are oppressed seems a little absurd. He is a very high status figure in this country, and instead of going out and helping black and other communities with this ongoing issue, he continues to disrespect the flag on live television, drawing all attention to himself.

As an American, I believe in the freedom of speech.

However, this is the national anthem before a football game, and a football game is an inappropriate environment for Kaepernick to express his freedom of speech. Football is a team sport, and what Kaepernick taking attention off his team and placing it all on himself. So now, not only is he disrespecting the country’s flag, but he is disrespecting his entire team.

Kaepernick has since donated a measly $1 million to charity to try and justify his actions. But as any NFL follower knows, Kaepernick recently signed a six-year contract with the Niners for $114 million. His donation doesn’t put a scratch in his wallet.

There is so much more this NFL icon can do to help the issue. Whether it is donating more money to show how much he cares about the issue, or even holding his own press conference, where he can voice his personal concerns instead of tarnishing the team aspect of football.

In a country that has had so much for so long, and is now facing hard times, I believe this would be a great time for Colin Kaepernick to become an American hero instead of adding to the controversy.

So, Mr. Kaepernick, is there more you can do?