The Colin Kaepernick Saga: Are We Missing the Point?
The Controversy Sparked by Kaepernick’s Protest Seems to be Misguided
On Aug. 26, 2016, Colin Kaepernick started a national movement when he opted to sit out during the performance of the “Star Spangled Banner” prior to an NFL preseason game.
Kaepernick spoke to NFL Media after the game, “it is to protest the injustices that are happening in America, the oppression that is happening in America.” He then drove his point home by adding, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of colour.”
Without even realizing it, the former quarterback launched one of the greatest social debates in recent American memory. Unfortunately, the majority of NFL fans focused on the idea that he was disrespecting the flag as well as the men and women that fought for the United States military.
I’m not saying that Kaepernick lost his job as quarterback in the NFL because of this event, that would be beside the point. However, I am trying to point out that Kaepernick messages seems to get lost in the controversy surrounding his protest.
Kaepernick was, and is still, fighting for the rights of the African-American community within a country that seems to be constantly oppressing said community.
Back when he first started his protests, the United States were a very different place. Barack Obama was still in office promoting rights for African-Americans within the country. Unfortunately, this country was starting to experience a shift as then presidential candidate, Donald Trump, was bringing out a darker side of this great nation—a side of the country filled with hatred and division amongst its people.
Police brutality towards African-Americans is, regrettably, nothing new. Police brutality towards African-Americans is still a problem in the United States. This is evidence by the countless accounts and videos depicting such abuse that have been making headlines down south.
Think whatever you like of Kaepernick’s methods to bringing awareness, but it is essential that we all come to the realisation that there is indeed a important level of injustice still alive in the United States. Once known as the “Land of the Free,’‘ it now seem to be looking more and more like the land of the oppressed.
The fact that some Americans are still refusing to accept the fact that Kaepernick was bringing up a valid point with is protest is baffling.
Advocates of the anti-Kaepernick movement will rejoice in the fact that his protests have sadly not changed much of the situation. Unfortunately, it’s also a testament proving how bad the racism problem has grown since the arrival of president Trump in office. The same man who tweeted out “The issue of kneeling has nothing to do with race. It is about respect for our Country, Flag and National Anthem. NFL must respect this!” Anybody who subscribes to such a statement is missing the point that Kaepernick was, and is still trying to make.
Until people start realizing that Colin Kaepernick simply used the biggest stage he could to bring awareness to the issue, no progress will be possible. Instead, those racist cowards will prefer hiding behind claims that he lacked respect to the flag. Who would ever stand for this flag when it represents oppression to a major part of their community?
Indeed, the United States have disrespected the African-American community for a much longer time, and they are still doing so to this day.
This has been the entire point of Kaepernick and all other NFL players, who engage in protests by peacefully kneeling for a minute and 20 seconds. Regrettably, until Americans find a leader that will guide them towards unity of all people, they will remain blind to the major racism issue that plagues their “beautiful” country.
PS: Instead of burning their Nike products out of hatred, Americans should probably give out those products to the veterans in need that their country has seemingly forgotten to honour.