Kaepernick: History Supports Protest

BY ADRIAN JARDING | Ball State Sports Link
Take a moment to sit back and truly think about what the San Fransisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick did on August 27, 2016.

When Kaepernick chose not to stand during the national anthem, he silently protested by sitting on the bench.

Listen more clearly to what he was saying in his press conference.

“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 said.

He didn’t bash on the military or call out anyone specific.

Kaepernick simply stated he believes there is a problem with how people of color in America are treated and he is protesting against injustice.

What Kaepernick said and did that night from a long-term perspective — regardless of how anyone feels about it — is historically correct.

How quickly Americans rushed to call Kaepernick “un-American”,  showed they developed amnesia from two other landmark protests.

In 1968, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, two African-American athletes who had just won gold and bronze respectively in the 200-meter sprint at the Olympics, wore black gloves as a “human rights salute.”

They felt America was not treating people of color fairly at the time and in kind, silently protested.

In the 1968 Olympics, Tommie Smith (Middle) and John Carlos (Right) protested against racial discrimination in America by wearing gloves to support human rights.

The International Olympic Committee responded by taking both of their medals away. People now remember their act as one that embodies the Olympic idealism.

In 1967, Muhammad Ali, the number two boxer of all-time according to ESPN.com, refused to be drafted and fight in the Vietnam War.

Ali was convicted of draft evasion, sentenced to five years in prison, fined $10,000 and banned from boxing for three years.

He risked his entire career saying, “I ain’t got no quarrel with those Vietcong.”

The public reacted by calling Ali “un-American” and a radical.

Even Jackie Robinson expressed displeasure in Ali’s actions at the time, citing how he made millions off the American public and in turn, showed displeasure for all that he’s been given.

Today, Ali is celebrated as a hero for sticking up to his beliefs and challenging the law of the land, as it turned out that the government felt the war was eventually pointless.

When soldiers fight and die for America, they are fighting to uphold the Constitution and the rights that come with it. They are not giving their lives to tell anyone what to say or do.

Under the Constitution of the United States, Kaepernick had every right to sit during the national anthem.

Under the Constitution, he had every right to say what he was protesting against.

One could argue what he did was very patriotic because he protested against a topic that is rapidly growing in discussion.

Some like New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and the outspoken cornerback for the Seattle Seahawks Richard Sherman felt his intention was fine, but the choice of protest was poor.

Former NFL player and Hall of Famer Jim Brown and current Philadelphia Eagle Myke Tavarres both have fully supported Kaepernick, the latter even going so far as to say he too will protest during the national anthem.

Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 12.27.22 AM
San Fransisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick protested against racial oppression in America by sitting on the bench during the national anthem during a preseason game against the Green Bay Packers. Photo: Jennifer Lee Chan – Niners Nation

Others like New York Giants star Victor Cruz and Republican candidate Donald Trump have completely scolded the quarterback’s actions.

If Kaepernick didn’t care about the many challenges he feels African-Americans currently face in America, then he wouldn’t have felt the need to protest in this way and speak out.

He put his career, fame and fortune on the line Aug. 27 by drawing his line in the sand.

Regardless of any personal feelings with his method, history is with Colin Kaepernick.



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