As the tension continues to build and the racial slurs still fail to commence, I say shame on you. We say land of the free, because of the brave…..but for what? Colin Kaepernick stated,  “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media’s Steve Wyche, confirming Pro Football Talk’s original report. “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.” 

Whether you want to believe it or not African Americans of 2016 are still oppressed. Some can help themselves and choose not too, some are going through adversity as we speak and some have very well made it, but it doesn’t take away the fact that it’s still occurring. To be real, minorities in general are treated in ill manners and you’re part of the problem if you think otherwise. As an NFL football player, he used his platform. “He stood tall while sitting, which is not an easy thing to do.  In fact, what he did in benching himself for the national anthem on Friday night was the hardest thing he could possibly do.” He could’ve stood with his teammates on the sideline, went against his conscience, but he didn’t. Someone mentioned he shouldn’t even be concerned with things like this because he was adopted and raised by two Caucasian parents, but as soon as he did something the world didn’t like guess what they did? That’s right, reminded him that he was a “nigger.” They’ve filled every comment section, on every social media page he has with such slander. To me this just further solidifies why he did it. These people don’t care about anything that doesn’t directly affect them. He’s expected to “just play ball.” I’m sure he’s well aware that if he wasn’t given the opportunity that he has, he too would be labeled as a “thug” in this worlds eyes. 

African-American athletes are contantly asked to speak out on social issues, yet when you don’t get the response you want everyone is outraged. So why ask to begin with? Is the fact that he’s sitting on millions of dollars means he can’t speak on the destruction of his people? Let’s not even mention the fact that he’s joined the Nation of Islam, so his beliefs aren’t going to be the same as everyone else’s. This country has opened it’s arms to all kinds of people. Allowing them to express themselves however they choose (well if it follows the law) because that is their right. Just because you would rather turn the other cheek than be uncomfortable with the truth, doesn’t mean everyone else has to do the same. Former teammate Alex Boone stated, “You should have some f—ing respect for people who served, especially people that lost their life to protect our freedom,” said Boone, whose brother J.J. served with the Marines in Iraq. “We’re out here playing a game, making millions of dollars. People are losing their life, and you don’t have the common courtesy to do that. That just drove me nuts.” 

Boone’s first point is great, people are losing their lives. This is true. Service men, Americans….Americans that look like him. Which is why he chose not to stand to begin with. He chose to use his platform for something of substance. He chose to have some respect for those lives lost. Not the same lives Boone is speaking of, but he was showing some respect. Yes Boone, Y’all are in fact making millions of dollars, living the life while the world outside of your football field waits for someone to hear the outcries of injustice. Because everyone knows you need to have a little status to even get the thought in your head that a difference will be made. 

As far as the service men and women who he feels have been disrespected, the thing is, they fought to protect or freedom, not just the actual act of being free, but the American principles that give individuals the freedom of religion and freedom of expression. These same American servicemen and women have defended here and abroad Kaepernick’s decision to scream the national anthem to the streets, or do as he did and sit; not honoring it all. To say that he is “un-American” means you have lost sight of what it is to be an American. Having a father who served for the U. S. military he may very well expect individuals to stand, but he understands that it is their right not to. And even though league players are encouraged to stand during the national anthem, they are not required to. Chip Kelly stated, “He has no right to tell any player how to honor, or not honor, his country.”

As Americans, we can’t keep trying to force people to do things that they don’t want to. We can’t keep trying to force our beliefs on other people because we think it’s right or better. We can’t keep ostracizing and belittling individuals because we feel as though they don’t fit the “American image.” That’s not the American way. Individuals come here to experience that freedom and though there has been much blood shed for us to have that right and I will forever be grateful for that, the constitution states what it states. You don’t have to agree with it, but you can’t penalize individuals either. So continue to burn his jersey, because that is your right; but don’t forget that this same country allowed the very right he expressed to cause you to burn the jersey in the first place. 

“I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it’s for or against.” 

-Malcom X 

P.S.: The double standards with athletes these days are baffling. Please understand that this foolishness does not go unnoticed.