Football season is well underway. Usually, this a time where people are rooting for their favorite team. Tailgaters are working on their favorite recipes. Beer commercials are flooding the TV screens. Sunday church services seem to have slightly less patronage. But instead of people talking about the latest touchdown, the focus has shifted to what’s going on before the game even starts.
In August 26th of 2016, Colin Kaepernick first gained nationwide attention after a photo was released of him sitting during the national anthem. After the game, he was asked why was he sitting and he stated he sat [in protest] because of the oppression of people of color and ongoing issues with police brutality. Shortly after that, other NFL players started doing that exact same thing during the anthem. People (both men and women) started doing it in other sports, from high school to professional, and it began to garner national attention.
At the start of the NFL’s 95th season, Kaepernick found himself unemployed. Many speculate that it is due to his initiation of the silent protest during the anthem and what they feel is a blatant disrespect to the American flag and also the U. S. Military. Kaepernick has stated from the beginning that this is not the case. When interviewed two days after he was first noticed sitting, he stated this:
“I have great respect for the men and women that have fought for this country. I have family, I have friends that have gone and fought for this country. And they fight for freedom, they fight for the people, they fight for liberty and justice, for everyone. That’s not happening. People are dying in vain because this country isn’t holding their end of the bargain up, as far as giving freedom and justice, liberty to everybody. That’s something that’s not happening. I’ve seen videos, I’ve seen circumstances where men and women that have been in the military have come back and been treated unjustly by the country they fought have for, and have been murdered by the country they fought for, on our land. That’s not right.”
Most recently, President Donald Trump got involved and expressed his disdain for the protest going as far as calling out to the owners to fire any “son of a bitch” who “disrespects our flag”. That caused players and owners alike to continue the protest, believed not so much for its original intent, but for a stand against the President.
Protesting in sports dates back decades and furthermore, should be allowed to continue when it goes against injustices in this nation against people of color. The men and women who fight for this country, fight for the right of everyone to choose what they deem is necessary in protesting whatever is associated with equality. It’s written in the Constitution. Some of us have forgotten that it even exists.