Kaepernick’s stand comes with unwarranted dishonor
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Colin Kaepernick has every right to do what he did.
There’s no debating that, from a legal standpoint, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback can sit down, kneel, lay on the ground, or jump up and down with his hands in the air. That is because Kaepernick has freedom of speech, a right given to him by the First Amendment and protected every day by the members of our military. From a legal standpoint, Kaepernick is clean. There is no wrong-doing in his actions.
However, in his choice to kneel during the anthem, Kaepernick creates a quite paradoxical situation. While kneeling, he directly disrespects and dishonors the men and women who risk their lives on a daily basis to protect this freedom.
But let’s not delve into that yet. First, let’s check the validity of the argument that he is making. When Kaepernick says that he “will not stand for a country that oppresses blacks and people of color”, one of his main arguments is presumably regarding the seemingly high number of white cops shooting black men. However, a study done by the Washington Post shows that in 2015, there were in fact nearly twice as many white people killed by cops as black.
In the high-profile cases of “blue on black” violence in the last year and a half, the victims seemed to be unarmed, raising eyebrows that some white policemen may instantly profile someone as dangerous due to their color of skin. However, out of the 93 cases of unarmed killings of citizens by cops, 32 of them were white and 38 black. A near identical number.
In these facts, I do not want to simplify the entirety of Kaepernick’s argument into a single topic, because with his broad statements that he declared as the reasoning for his actions, he encompassed a tyranny that has run deep in our country for years past. Racial issues, while obviously not as prevalent as in our nation’s past, are still something we are dealing with today. I am not denying that. His vague statements, however, are conducive to believing that he is focusing on the biggest racial issue that we see in mainstream media in the killing of black men by white cops.
Even so, there are many ways Kaepernick could go about this. Dishonoring the country and the military is simply not one of them, especially when his actions lead to others following suit on Sept. 11, a day that should exude patriotism and pride in our country and one another. While several players around the NFL were allowed to kneel or raise a fist during the anthem, others, including Odell Beckham Jr. and Victor Cruz of the Giants, were fined for wearing patriotic cleats that honored their country on the day of remembrance. Athletes were simultaneously praised for standing up against the country and punished others for simply being patriotic in a small facet of their uniform. Kaepernick has begun to lead the way in protests around the league that are just shortsighted. While he has explicitly said that he is not trying to disrespect anyone, that he is only trying to bring light to an issue that is close to him, he is bringing the military into the inadvertent crossfire.
While his intentions, although they lack clarity, may be pure, the execution of this protest is dishonorable to the country that he resides, works, and shares many freedoms in.