The San Francisco 49er’s quarterback Colin Kaepernick is facing backlash because of his decision to sit during “The Star Spangled Banner,” the anthem played before many U.S. sports games. Most people stand and place their right hand over their heart as a way to express patriotism and honor the military troops fighting overseas.
Kaepernick has faced serious backlash because of his refusal to stand up for the national anthem. He has been deemed unpatriotic and was accused of disrespecting the country and the troops that fight for it. Kaepernick, however, seems to think that the cause is worth its potential consequences.
Kaepernick is protesting the current status of race relations in the United States. He is specifically taking a stand for victims of police brutality. He attempts to justify his actions by his conscience; he does not think that it is right to stay silent while innocent people are killed by cops who, according to an original statement, “don’t have the same amount of training as a cosmetologist.” He sees himself as blessed by the opportunities he has been given, but indicates that he is going to “continue to stand with the people that are being oppressed” by refusing to stand for the anthem before games.
Since “The Star Spangled Banner” symbolizes pride in being a U.S. citizen, critics are saying that he must be ashamed to be a citizen. The anthem is about honoring the troops that allow Kaepernick, along with the rest of the U.S. population, to live freely and safely in this country. It is not an anthem dedicated to issues regarding police brutality or systematic oppression so, by not standing with the crowd, critics say he must be ashamed.
Citizens and government administration of the United States often advocate for the expression of patriotism. They ask U.S. citizens to place their hands over their hearts and stand up during both the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance and the singing of the national anthem. However, we do not necessarily have to follow every custom set forth in this country. We have our flaws as a country, especially when it comes to civil rights, and these issues do not get the attention and action they deserve. Kaepernick’s actions were not violent and were not violating any laws. This is not the the first symbolic protest dealing with race in the United States and it most certainly will not be the last.
Perhaps some of the people who are offended that an NFL player refused to stand are super-patriots who think the United States can do no wrong. Even President Barack Obama has come out to defend Kaepernick’s actions saying, “I’d rather have young people who are engaged in the argument than people who are just sitting on the sidelines not paying attention at all.” The fact that this scandal is getting more backlash than the people he is speaking up for is upsetting and disappointing. Kaepernick’s actions are meant to serve as a reminder that a bigger problem exists: millions of people are oppressed every day in this country but they do not get media attention or publicity, so they are left in the dark. Kaepernick is at the least trying to offset that media imbalance.