Taking a Knee in the Name of Our Country

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Kaepernick throws a pass for the 49ers.

Carlin Beskrone , Sports Writer

Colin Kaepernick, a professional football player for the San Francisco 49ers, has created a storm of controversy in the world of sports, and it shows no signs of slowing down. On August 26, 2016, Kaepernick did not stand for the National Anthem before his preseason game. When asked about it, Kaepernick said that he will not stand in support of a country which treats African Americans so poorly, and this has caused an uproar in the media. Many believe that what his manner of protest is unpatriotic. Timmer Farley ‘19 commented, “He approached the situation aggressively, and I don’t think he thought through all of the options for protest before he chose this. I think his stance is controversial and should have been avoided.” However, many other NFL players have followed his lead and either sat, knelt, or held a fist up in protest. Also, the protest is not restricted to football. Megan Rapinoe, a U.S. women’s soccer player, knelt for the national anthem before her game against the Chicago Red Stars on September 4, 2016. The Howard University cheerleaders knelt before Howard’s game against Hampton University on September Seventeenth. Kaepernick’s stance appears to be dividing our country between those who agree and those who do not.

Though Kaepernick’s stand may seem divisive, he believes that it is something that will unite our country against the face of racism. After his game on August 28, he further expanded on his reason for the protest: “I’m going to continue to stand with the people that are being oppressed. To me, this is something that has to change. . . It’s something that can unify this team. It’s something that can unify this country. If we have these real conversations that are uncomfortable for a lot of people. If we have these conversations, there’s a better understanding of where both sides are coming from.” Here, Colin Kaepernick says that even though we may be divided now, what he is doing is necessary for the unity of our country.

Kaepernick and the other athletes do not stand alone in their belief that this will unify our country. Grant Sheppard ‘19 expressed, “His protest forces us to have a difficult conversation, one which is necessary for us to have. With so many current events, I don’t think anyone could argue that it isn’t a necessity.” Sheppard believes that this stand, as well as forcing us to talk about uncomfortable topics like racism, is necessary for our country to move forward. There is also a belief that the other athletes coming together and supporting Kaepernick creates unity between the players and in the sports world. Donald Morton, a History teacher at WFS, explained, “I don’t think the point of him kneeling was to unify people. I think that the point was to highlight discrimination that he saw. Although, what I’ve noticed, is that people from all ethnicities have joined in the protest.” Here, Mr. Morton is saying that, through the course of raising awareness for his cause, he did inadvertently unite people.

Colin Kaepernick has undoubtedly created a stir in the world of sports. With his protest, he has angered many people, but just as many people stand with him. However, though we are divided, Kaepernick believes that what he is doing is for the good of America and will eventually unify us as a country. Brandon Marshall, a linebacker for the Denver Broncos who followed Kaepernick’s lead, stated “I’m not against the military. I’m not against the police or America. I’m against social injustice.”