Colin Kaepernick’s actions come up one yard short of the point

Harrison Witt, Sports Columnist

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Despite having great intentions and motives behind his actions, San Francisco 49ers backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick did not get the point across by sitting during the national anthem.

As most people know, the national anthem plays before every sporting event in the US.  This tradition is known for its display of patriotism and respect for our country and troops.   However, Kaepernick said, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color” (per NFL.com).

Kaepernick hit the nail on the head with his purpose.  There needs to be change in this country.  Oppression, police brutality and overall injustice is unacceptable.  I think it is inspiring when professional athletes speak their minds on issues in this country.  Thousands of us look up to these athletes and truly listen to what they say.  We admire them, we want to be like them. Kaepernick brought up extremely important issues.  But, here is the caveat.

Refusing to stand during the national anthem is disrespectful to many and, quite frankly, not  a good technique to make change in a country that has its flaws.  Before this instance, Kaepernick was more well known for being a 28 year old quarterback who is past his peak. But now, all of a sudden, he is known as “The guy who won’t stand for the national anthem”. This act has taken away from the point he wanted to make and puts all the attention on him.

For many Americans, the fact that a quarterback making millions of dollars a year will not stand for the song that honors our country is sickening.  I can see where they are coming from, but that is not the point.  The point is he can do so much more to stand up than to sit down.  There are so many organizations and groups that I am sure would love the help of someone with a big name like his.  How is sitting down for the national anthem doing anything?   He is not raising conversation about how to make a difference.  He is raising conversation about him.

This situation is being heavily discussed among students.  Most students tend to lean towards Kaepernick’s side.  This is saying something about the views our generation has on racial issues.  There is a problem that high schoolers are noticing.  There are problems within the school.  It is obvious there is a lack of people of color in AP classes, and that is not how it should be.  The goal of amazing groups like SOAR and Team ASAP are making a difference in these issues.  Kaepernick should be more like these groups. At ETHS, there is a significant amount of students who struggle with reading. This list can go on and on because racial issues are prominent everywhere we go.  Kaepernick wants to make a point that needs to be made.  He should just reconsider his method of making it because the attention is being diverted from the point.

However, there have been athletes who have gotten their point across.  One instance that resonates with me is when Chris Paul, Dwayne Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Lebron James, some of the biggest NBA stars, opened the ESPN ESPY Awards by talking about how athletics are important, but the racial inequality, police brutality and racial profiling need to stop first.  They talked about how gun violence needs to stop.  Wade said, “As athletes, it is on us to challenge each other to do even more than we already do.”

This was a fantastic and mature approach to speaking their minds. Colin Kaepernick should take a page out of these guys’ books. Although I was not a fan of Kaepernick’s method of protest, I do think he should keep fighting for the injustices that exist in this country.  Athletes can truly make a difference in this world, and Kaepernick has shown he is definitely capable of being one of them.