Opinion: Colin Kaepernick Should Respect the Anthem

The Leesville Road boys soccer team standing for the National Anthem prior to the Millbrook game. The National Anthem is played prior to almost all sporting events. (Photo courtesy Emma Sheppard)

Colin Kaepernick, a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, has created recent controversy over the National Anthem and what it stands for. Kaepernick has been taking a knee while the Anthem is played prior to a football game beginning.

Due to Kaepernick’s actions, others from the National Football League (NFL) and various other sports have joined in this action. Megan Rapinoe from the U.S. Women’s Soccer team has taken a knee during the National Anthem prior to their matches, and the U.S. soccer association has threatened to suspend her if the actions continue.

A local example of how the protesting has spread is the recent event of members of the ECU band kneeling during the playing of the Anthem prior to the ECU Football game on Saturday, October 1.

There are many different opinions on this situation and how people feel about Kaepernick using his platform as a professional athlete. Kaepernick chooses to kneel because of the discrimination against blacks and the lack of support that African-American communities receive. Specifically, he kneels because of the recent events with the police shootings. Kaepernick does not want to support a country that allows these actions to occur.

There is honor in the cause that Colin Kaepernick is standing up for, but he is doing it in the incorrect manner. Kneeling during the National Anthem is very disrespectful to all Americans and those who sacrifice so much for our country everyday. There are men and women serving our country overseas away from their family. Some former servicemen are physically unable to stand for the National Anthem. Kaepernick not standing for the Anthem is seen as disrespectful for those reasons.

Part of Kaepernick’s and others arguments is that the national anthem and flag don’t stand for one specific thing. There isn’t a definition of what the flag stands for or what people should think of when they look at the flag. Kaepernick says the things that he feels the flag stands for are not being respected in the U.S. and this is why he chooses to kneel for the National Anthem.

Kaepernick’s actions have caused a ripple effect in the NFL, as well as other professional and college sports. Even on 9/11, many NFL players joined with Kaepernick in kneeling during the Anthem. Some also chose to hold their fists in the air while standing.

Another problem brought up by this controversy are the reports that Kaepernick makes around 19 million dollars per year. He only donates around one million dollars of that for the causes that Kaepernick claims do not receive support. This is not enough if he wants the impact to be major.

The major things Kaepernick is protesting are racial oppression and inequality. Race has always been an issue, worldwide and in the U.S. The major issues occurring with race in the US today have to do mostly with police shootings. Some shootings are black-and-white in regards to what happened, but most are gray, not knowing exactly why an action was taken or what instigated the situation.

If Kaepernick is really looking for a change, he should begin to take other actions than just kneeling and get involved with the communities that are being affected by these issues. Being able to interact and get involved with the communities will create a relationship with the people that are being affected. This will be beneficial to Kaepernick because he will be making a direct impact instead of just telling others to fix it.

There are different ways for Kaepernick to protest the racial oppression and inequality occurring today. He should get involved with the communities being affected by oppression and inequality. In order to have a major impact on these issues, Kaepernick has to get involved and try to make a difference with the communities. He cannot sit back and wait for the government or others to make a difference. If he wants change, he must do something about it.

Overall, these actions taken by Kaepernick and others can have a positive purpose but must be done in a different manner in order to respect certain people and things that pertain to our country.


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