Colin Kaepernick’s Protest Disrespectful?

Krysyan Edler, Writer

Colin Kaepernick, a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, created a national stir August 26 in Santa Clara, California by sitting during the National Anthem for the past three games as a protest against the oppression of minorities and police brutality against African Americans.

Kaepernick’s protest and purpose are paramount, as it is his right and he should show respect to the flag and the National Anthem by standing, but his protest has spread to include other athletes.

Kaepernick used his fame to start a conversation about the treatment of minorities. “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 said in an interview with Steve Wyche of  “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way…”

Minorities are singled out, with acts of police brutality against African Americans. This country is founded on the ideals of equality, and it is hypocritical to discriminate American citizens because of their race or religion. This needs to stop!

The protest of the National Anthem is protected by constitutional rights.

The First Amendment states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Kaepernick is exercising his right to freedom of speech, but just because he has the right to protest against the anthem, this does not mean he should.

The National Anthem should be respected by all citizens. It represents this country and the men and women that have fought to protect the United States.

Instead, Kaepernick should have protested differently to draw attention to his cause. Kaepernick could be out in his community or working with politicians to create social change. Granted, he is donating $1 million of his salary  and all the proceeds of his jersey sales, currently the top selling jersey for the San Francisco 49ers, to communities.

Kaepernick is receiving support throughout the NFL and from other athletes. Jeremy Lane of the Seattle Seahawks and Eric Reid of the San Francisco 49ers are just two of the NFL players to kneel, with many considering participation.

The protest has spread outside of the NFL, with protests from the West Virginia Tech’s Women’s Volleyball team, the United States Women’s National Soccer Team’s, and the Seattle Reign’s star midfielder Megan Rapinoe have kneeled in support of Kaepernick.

The support is likely going to continue and grow with other athletes considering to join the movement, but the movement will face resistance from coaches and owners.

Professional athletes need to take the flag and National Anthem out of their protests; discrimination and racism can end without disrespect to the flag.