Kaepernick’s kneeling gets bipolar reactions


It’s generally customary, not mandatory, to stand and place your right hand over your heart during the playing of the National Anthem.

Colin Kaepernick in 2012. photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Colin Kaepernick in 2012. photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

But on Aug. 25, at Levi Stadium in Santa Clara, the San Francisco 49ers hosted the Green Bay Packers in a week three pre-season exhibition match.

49ers backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick in protest of the national anthem deciding to sit on the bench instead of stand.

This wasn’t the first time Kaepernick participated in this form of protest. He did so in the previous two preseasons games as well.

Those went unnoticed.

During the Aug. 25 incident, someone took to Twitter prompting post game and halftime questions to Kaepernick about why he was seen sitting during the Anthem.

He did an extended interview with NFL network’s Steve Wyche in which he explained the reasoning and thought process behind the sitting.

“I am not going to stand up and show pride in a flag for a country oppresses black people and people of color,” said Kaepernick.

So to many, this was seen as a sign of disrespect to America and the members of its military, to whom the poem is sold most heavily to as it is a description of the nation’s flag during war.

The poem in question was written by Francis Scott Key in 1814, entitled “The Star Spangled Banner.”

It officially became recognized as the national anthem on March 13, 1931 by Congressional resolution, and signed by President Hebert Hoover.

This is an old tradition.

Before the game’s opening coin toss and kickoff, the National Anthem is performed.

Maybe it’s unknown that the Department of Defense (DOD) pays for the military and patriotic presence during the broadcasts of major sporting events.

2008 Pro bowl at University of Hawaii stadium during the national Anthem as Army National Guard helicopter flies above. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
2008 Pro bowl at University of Hawaii stadium during the national Anthem as Army National Guard helicopter flies above. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The DOD is paying organizations multi-million dollars each season to have their advertising displays to keep America patriotic, keeping the military love affair America currently embroiders.

Especially since attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 the country has responded more heavily to the National Anthem especially since over a dozen years of war that followed.
Sitting has now become the front-page conversation of America.

Somehow the issue has become conflated with disrespecting the military instead of America promised us better, so why is isn’t it better?

To begin with, the Star Spangled Banner is being misconstrued.

It, like the flag, holds no real meaning. Both hold no real power. Both are symbols for the citizens of the united states and the united states constitution in which gives powers that give us a country.

People are confusing the flag for our country.

We could change the flag tomorrow and no one would even care to notice. It’s a representation a symbol, not the country. Both the Anthem and Flag are art that act as symbols, they are not anything outside of that.

People have been using banners and symbols to show where you’re from for centuries. That’s all they do, is represent where someone’s from without having to speak.

But now, the National Anthem is played countless times each year. Before every Major League, minor league, high school, little league baseball game.

And the same goes for each level of football, volleyball, boxing, soccer, hockey, MMA, water polo and track meet.

It’s endless.

There are only 356 days in a year, but the national Anthem is played over 1,000 times than in a given year.

What would truly happen if we changed the flag, or changed the National Anthem to something else? Would America all of a sudden cease to exist? If Japan for instance changed their flag, would we stop calling them Japan? No. They’re not real things, they’re invented.

So what’s the problem and why the protest?

Countless police shootings of unarmed and seemingly non-dangerous black men, with of course some maybe not so innocent, are being recorded on phones, police cameras and helicopters at a high rate.

The only common factor is all the people the cops are shooting happen to be black.

But we know that already, hence the constant debate of who’s to blame, those getting shot or the cops.

The country is divided on all these issues. With one side, let’s call them “Trump voters,” saying the police are being mistreated and these men should be compliant and obedient.

The other side, let’s call them “Liberals,” believing the racial profiling is outrageous and the police need to do better jobs to protect all people.

It’s unavoidable, the questions are just becoming delusional. We’re getting lost in truth versus belief.

What we’re told and know, is no longer what we believe. As a country we ignore evidence and claim to be skeptics.

We’re always looking for some other answer than what’s right in front of us.

The National Anthem is pointless, and was written by a slave owner whom when wrote the words, “land of the free” didn’t mean black, Asian, Hispanic or any other race other than white.

The Civil Rights Act was only enacted 52 years ago. Living people’s great and great-great-grandparents were slaves.

We’ve not come very far from where we were, however, white America thinks they’ve given enough.

This is still so prevalent, on Sept. 16 an unarmed black man named Terence Crutcher was shot to death by Tulsa police in Oklahoma.

On Sept. 19 video was released of the incident in which clearly shows Crutcher with his hands up while he was shot to death.

On the same day the video was leaked, a suspected bomber and terrorist, Ahmad Khan Rahami, in New Jersey and New York was involved in a police shootout in Linden, New Jersey. However, he survived with wounds and gets to face trial for multiple counts of attempted murder, of police officers.

It’s confusing this climate.

Where is the country on race? Are we even headed towards better policing with the constant outcry and video evidence?

Or does the counter outrage and protest truly ‘trump’ the movement to an equal profiling of American citizens.

These events, along with Alton Sterling, Freddie Gray, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner and the many other names deaths are what have caused Colin Kaepernick to sit during the National anthem of a football game.

He’s tired of the violence and feeling that black lives don’t matter in America.

He’s no longer alone, there are many black and other veterans in the united states military who are standing alongside in support of his first amendment right in which they fought for.

His teammate and pro-bowl safety Eric Reid, Seattle Seahawk corner Jeremy lane, U.S. Women’s Soccer player Megan Rapinoe, and a dozen or so other NFL players.

Megan Rapine at the 2012 Summer Olympics wearing american flag. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Megan Rapinoe at the 2012 Summer Olympics wearing american flag.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

This has even spread beyond professional sports. A high school volleyball team here in Stockton at Cesar Chavez kneeled during the playing of the National Anthem before a match against Tokay.

This movement doesn’t seem to be going away, and American police don’t seem to be ending the shooting and mistreatment of black citizens anytime soon.
So what’s next?

Shortly after finishing this article, another suspected unarmed black man, Keith Lamont Scott, was gunned down by police in North Carolina.

Reports said police were searching for a man with a warrant in the area and mistook Scott for the man.

North Carolina felt the outrage immediately, and like any other pressure cooker, the state erupted into chaos and riots.

The city of Charlotte lit up in protest. Eventually deteriorating into violence towards multiple police officers, vandalism, shutting down roads, highways and looting.

The number of black men dying in the hands of police to the public doesn’t seem to dissipating.

Safe to assume, the number of reactionary protests won’t diminish either.

Expect more black and non-black athletes to continue kneeling, sitting and raising their fists during the playing of our National Anthem.

I would predict that protests from athletes will escalate beyond silent demonstrations, because apparently front page headlines and dominating the countries discussions on every media outlet imaginable isn’t enough to generate a scratch into the changing of society and policing in America.

This is definitely the home of the brave, but when will it truly be the land of the free?