Before the San Francisco 49ers hosted the Green Bay Packers on Friday night, quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a stand by sitting down.
He elected to remain sitting on the bench instead of standing while the national anthem was performed, later saying it was to express his disagreement with the way the United States treats 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,” the veteran said after Friday’s game. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
While he is receiving backlash from around the country, Kaepernick certainly had every right not to stand during the national anthem.
First and foremost, he has the American right to the freedom of expression, but he also has the right as a member of the NFL:
However, while Kaepernick has the right to sit during the national anthem, the amount of blatant disrespect it shows completely contradicts the cause he supports.
By making his point in support of the “Black Lives Matter” rally, he disrespected the black men and women who lost their lives fighting for the United States of America, those who fought for freedom, peace, and justice.
American soldiers of all colors, genders, and ages died for the freedom of a country that allows Kaepernick to play football games for millions of dollars. The least we as citizens can do is honor their sacrifice during ceremonies like the performance of the national anthem.
There is a time and a place to make political stands, and during the national anthem is the wrong time.
Again, Kaepernick should be allowed to voice his opinion, one that he will always be entitled to own. Many athletes have used their platforms to speak out against violence in America.
Earlier this summer, members of various WNBA teams were fined for wearing “Black Lives Matter” shirts during warmups.
In 2014, members of the St. Louis Rams made headlines by walking onto the field with their hands raised above their head in support of Michael Brown, a teenager shot by police in August of that year.
But the overwhelming difference between Kaepernick’s incident and those two were the time and place of the protests.
Both of the latter protests were done during pregame activities. Neither were done while the country was being honored or while the American flag was being saluted.
Kaepernick, in trying to make a statement, showed disregard for those who have been lost fighting wars he has never had to fight in. His protest would have been better suited at a different time, perhaps with a shirt or gesture like those mentioned above.
While he had every right to express his opinion and belief, his timing was classless and glaringly disrespectful.