Kaepernick’s protest goes beyond football

Max Stoneking, Co-editor

Colin Kaepernick has hardly touched the field in 2016.

So why is his name receiving more attention than any other player in the league?

The truth is that Kaepernick did something that goes beyond football, beyond sports. He did not stand for the national anthem at a preseason game in late August and for every game since. He instead remained seated.

Disrespectful? Maybe.

But what he did drew attention to one of the most intractable problems in America today: racial tension.

His reasoning was to silently protest oppressed African Americans, to use his clout in a way that would give the oppressed a voice.

The actions by Kaepernick have posed some serious questions regarding respect for the country and if he is in the right or the wrong to remain seated during the playing of “The Star Spangled Banner”.

Some may argue that taking a knee disrespects the meaning of the flag and the United States, that Kaepernick is embarrassing himself, the 49ers, the NFL and potentially the entire country.

However, the rationale to protest using the national anthem is genius; it’s so controversial that almost everyone has to talk about it. Some speak with anger, but others speak with concern for the issue being protested which is what Kaepernick wants.

If attention can be focused on the oppressed state of the African American sector, then his protest is a success.

Taking a knee during the national anthem has turned into a nation-wide trend. High school and college football programs have shown their support by taking a knee before their games.

Additionally, other professional athletes have endorsed Kaepernick by expressing their support and concern for the issue that is being protested. NBA superstar Steph Curry among others has commended the silent protests. Kaepernick has certainly started a movement, but the results have yet to be seen.

Not standing for the national anthem is a valid way to protest a serious issue.

There is no rule or amendment prohibiting taking a knee or sitting down. What Kaepernick has done is simply a full employment his First Amendment right.

However, this specific form of protest may be looked at as disrespectful to the country and to those who have served in the military. The current view of the national anthem harbors a connotation of honoring those who have served although that is not what the original intent of playing the song at sporting events was.

When the country has to be introduced to numerous unjustified acts of violence such as police brutality, many with a racial motive, initiative must be taken.

The ones who are truly being oppressed have little to no voice, thus no action can be taken to stand up against racial tension.

Having a well known figure stand up for the cause gives the movement some weight which is why Kaepernick has been able to do more from the bench than he has on the field this season.