To Sit Or Not To Sit, That Is The Question

Illustration: Madalyn Drewno


Illustration: Madalyn Drewno

Football season has begun, and that means the coming months will be filled with Fantasy Football Leagues, Sunday Night football, and even controversy, which Colin Kaepernick has already got a head start on.

Kaepernick, the starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, has done something seemingly unheard of—he refused to stand for the national anthem before a preseason game honoring veterans.

When asked about his actions after-the-fact, Kaepernick said, “I am not going to stand up to show pride for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” Because of that comment, many people have discredited his stance because of his multi-million dollar paycheck, saying that he is not allowed to disrespect an America that allows him his celebrity status and everyday luxuries. Other critics have called him “unpatriotic” and have claimed to no longer support the 49ers because their quarterback is disrespecting those in the military who have served and fought for America’s freedoms.

His actions, although they may not be favored by some, have opened a much larger, much needed, and more important dialogue about the racial inequalities in America in a highly controversial time.

Americans’ rights to freedom specifically allow anyone to freely speak their mind about any given topic and sit in silence if they so choose. America is great because it allows everyone the opportunity to take advantage of these exact rights and do something such as peacefully protest a controversial issue – an action which many Americans have even asked those a part of the Black Lives Matter movement to do. So why is it that when Colin Kaepernick does exactly that, he is slandered?

Let’s look at the facts. Recently, America is a place where an unarmed 18-year-old black male is fatally shot and killed because an officer thought he might have a weapon, but a 19-year-old white Florida male can walk away alive from stabbing three people and killing two, even after he has started to eat a victim’s face. America is a place where a 43-year-old black male is illegally choked to death despite muttering the words, “I can’t breathe,” for selling cigarettes, but a fully armed white male who enters a movie theater and kills 12 people walks away alive.

So, who is really disrespecting America? Are the people who serve fighting for an America in which citizens blatantly pretend that there are no racial inequalities?

Despite the backlash, there are many people who are sitting in solidarity with Kaepernick, including Seattle Reign’s Megan Rapinoe and the Denver Broncos’ Brandon Marshall. These athletes are asking Americans to look at a bigger picture and to know what it means to be a true American.

Colin Kaepernick, if anything, is the most American out of all of us. He is playing one of America’s great games and using his status and power to open a dialogue about something incredibly important, and despite the controversy, he remains strong in his stance. Instead of being so quick to be offended or misunderstand him, America ought to listen and sit with him.

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