To take a knee, is to take a stand
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick had the media wondering about more than whether or not his skill set would work in Coach Kelly's offense, but why he chose to stand out the way he did. In San Francisco’s third preseason game against the Green Bay Packers, Kaepernick pulled himself from a lineup that almost seems mandatory in all sports across the United States. He chose to sit out the national anthem. His reason?
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” said Kaepernick in a postgame press conference. “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.”
Now with all that being said, let me be the first to say that I am one of those sports fanatics that prefer my athletes to say the things they want to as opposed to the things their supposed to say. Given the issue at hand, and with all the ongoing events surrounding law enforcement and the black community, I have no problem with players using their platforms, and rights I might add, to speak on such events.
Despite the significant financial difference between us and them, I feel like these top paid athletes are more prone to be heard. I can’t say Kaepernick is right, but I can’t say he’s wrong either, but what I can say is that he has the right to approach the issue in the way that he has thus far.
I’ve had a few people say well athletes don’t speak on such things because “they’re not supposed to”, and I get it, players shouldn’t bring real life issues to their leagues/ business because it could cause controversy but here’s the reality people. Once that game is over and done with, these players are going home to their everyday lives, although it might be a bit lavish, they’re still not exempt from what’s going on in the real world in which we all live.
Then there are those who argue it would be “foolish” to overstep league boundaries and speak on public issues and risk your endorsements and everything else.
Kaepernick explained his viewpoint by saying, “If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right.” Sometimes, some things are bigger than the brand these athletes wear, and bigger than their endorsements, so if speaking up on a major problem in today’s society will make them feel more accomplished or well rounded, then I’m all for it.