If you’re something remotely close to a sports fan and were on social media the past few days, it’s likely you know all about San Francisco 49ers Quarterback, Colin Kaepernick’s decision to sit for the National Anthem. When asked if he will continue to do so, Kaepernick responded with this:
“I’ll continue to sit. … I’m going to continue to stand with the people that are being oppressed. To me, this is something that has to change, and when there’s significant change — and I feel like that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent, and this country is representing people the way it’s supposed to — I’ll stand.”
I will admit, I shook my head and rolled my eyes when I first saw that Kaepernick sat through the Star Spangled Banner. I am the kind of person who puts my hand over my heart while it plays. Even when I strongly disagreed with the administration that sent friends of mine to fight someone else’s war and treated my French heritage with complete disrespect, I still took my hat off and sang along. When reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at local political events in the progressive town I live in, they take out the word “God”, but regardless of my non-existent church attendance record and doubting Thomas, bad Catholic ways, I – along with a group of others – recite it how we learned it. As I have said before in other posts, I am a child of immigrants. My Canadian accent still comes out if I spend too much time up North and although Red, White and Blue comes first, Bleus, Blanc, Rouge still puts a smile on my face. I love this country and what I love the most is that I am entitled to make every single one of those choices.
Like I said, at first I shook my head. I thought to myself “Why not donate? Why not have a meaningful conversation? Why not work with people to change these things?”. Because it’s all that simple right? It’s amazing how fast even someone like myself forgets that this country became what it is today because of those willing to protest and it will be what it is 50 years down the road because of the same willingness of some individuals to go against the grain and do what some are too afraid to or would prefer not to be as vocal about.
Sure I thought about our men and women overseas and what they do for us. I can’t imagine how it must feel for them to see a Quarterback of an NFL team do such a thing while they face bullets and bombs on a daily basis. I imagine it must hurt to see it, but isn’t that just the point? We love to call out athletes. We love to say “hey you have the platform! Do something for crying out loud!”, but when it doesn’t fit into our Norman Rockwell painting version of the USA, we run our mouths and burn their jerseys. God forbid they don’t agree with everything we have to say. Then we bring up their income, as if their multi-million dollar contract includes a “keep your mouth shut unless you agree with us” clause. It should hurt, it should make you react, because that’s the intent behind it. Whether you agree or disagree with the sentiment, the reaction only justifies the initiative.
It’s incredible how many comments I have seen that go down the path of “if you don’t like it here, move!”. It’s like these individuals can’t grasp the concept of the democracy and patriotism that they are so rabidly protecting. Freedom isn’t the bulk food section of the grocery store where you can pick which flavors you like and disregard the others because they aren’t your favorite.
Finally, I am a Seahawks fan ok? I obviously have no bias toward Kaepernick and I am not sitting here saying that he is a revolutionary or that he isn’t flawed. I also understand the knee-jerk reaction, but when that subsides, realize that what you felt supports why Kaepernick made the decision to do what he did.
Colin Kaepernick has every right to sit through the National Anthem, just as you and I do. Our country has been and still is working out it’s problems. Rarely is a problem fixed by someone doing what is expected of them.
Editor in Chief of Lemonade Magazine
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