Recently while sportsing, NFL player Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the National Anthem. The protest against obvious racial injustices in the U.S. came before a recent game.
Let me begin by saying this:
I do not know the first thing about football or the NFL. I’m not sure why there’s a fascination with guys who run ten feet then stop for twenty minutes to talk about that run. I get confused as to how they get a home run. I do, however, love the pants they wear. But that’s another story for another paper.
What I know of NFL players is the long list of rapists, wife beaters, drunk drivers, and dog fighters who are hailed as heroes in America’s greatest sport. I know of men who have committed atrocities in this life, yet are saved by the grace of their uniform number.
To my surprise, Kaepernick isn’t a rapist. He didn’t run a puppy mill. He didn’t murder his ex-wife and her lover then write a book about it. Nope, he just sat down when a song played. Scandalous!
This being said, I do know about being an American. We have rights and freedoms. We have a Constitution written to lay out to us our rights and freedoms. This document is hundreds of years old. It is easy to find and simple to reference. Within this document, we are allowed the right to Freedom of Expression.
The U.S. Constitution’s protection of freedom of expression embodies the notion that an individual’s ability to express himself freely — without fear of government punishment — produces the autonomy and liberty that promote better governance. Allowing citizens to openly discuss topics of public concern results in a more transparent and representative government, more tolerant ideas and a more stable society.
We are not required to stand in solidarity with any entity. This is our right.
So I find it a tad surprising that a man exercising his right to Freedom of Expression at a football game has created such controversy. Especially when a majority of NFL fans are of the same ilk as those who constantly fight for their rights to that same freedom in areas such as gun control and LGBT equality.
When Kim Davis literally sat down refusing to do her job as a protest against the marriage equality laws exercising her right to Freedom of Expression, she was treated as a martyr by people.
By choosing not to stand for the National Anthem, Kaepernick chose to make a statement. As a black man in the U.S., he no longer wished to stand in respect for a nation which has for generations marginalized and persecuted an entire race of people. While his people lay dying in the streets at the hands of those sworn to protect, he rightfully chose not to show respect to the system which has allowed the murder of black youth to be swept under the rug.
As a gay man, I have often felt this way when being told I must respect a nation in which I am barely allowed the full rights and freedoms other citizens so easily are afforded.
Meanwhile on Twitter, users seem to have made it a point to show why this protest was necessary.
I apologize to the nation for the words of White America.