The Pioneer

Colin Kaepernick stands against oppression

Jamal Ingram,
Contributor

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During a preseason game between the San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers in Santa Clara on Aug. 26 2016, Colin Kaepernick kneeled during the national anthem as a way to stand up for people being oppressed in America.

“This is not something that I am going to run by anybody,” Kaepernick addressing reporters on Aug. 28. “I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed. … If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right.”

What started as a peaceful protest has now turned into a league-wide stance against President Donald Trump. Donald Trump’s words on the topic may have caused NFL players to forget why the protest began in the first place.

Americans are entitled to freedom of speech, and Kaepernick is doing just that. There was no disrespect or even a jab being thrown towards the President. Trump stirred the pot when he wrote the following on Twitter:

“Many people booed the players who kneeled yesterday (which was a small percentage of total). These are fans who demand respect for our Flag!” Trump tweeted Sep. 25th “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!”

Before this tweet was sent out, an average of about 20-35 players kneeling before games in support of Kaepernick. The Sunday after his tweet, nearly 200 players took a knee, including some players locking arms while standing. A handful of owners, instead of supporting anti-oppression, these players and coaches were unified against Trump.

“To counter the vast amount of press attention being referred to as the ‘national anthem protests’ versus the large amount of grassroots work that many players around the league have invested their time and resources, we would like to request a league-wide initiative that would include a month dedicated to a campaign initiative and related events.” Seattle Seahawk DE, Michael Bennett and others said to the commissioner of NFL. “Similarly to what the league already implements for breast cancer awareness, honoring military, etc, we would like November to serve as a month of Unity for individual teams to engage and impact the community in their market.”

While some applaud the league for supporting worthwhile causes such as breast cancer awareness, military support, etc. others have criticized it for being proactive on some issues while ignoring others. This proposal does less harm than cause and would be a great way for people to come together showing unity for a problem going on in the world.

“Kaepernick is exercising his constitutional right and is getting the country talking,”  Obama said during a press conference. “I’d rather have young people who are engaged in the argument and trying to think through how they can be part of our democratic process than people who are sitting on the sidelines not paying attention at all.”

The issue at hand isn’t about players disrespecting the flag, or even about being a distraction for attention, it is about the people being oppressed in America. The situation at hand is being overlooked by Trump’s tweets and player going against him. Instead of going head to head with one another, let’s resolve the issue and stop this.

Colin Kaepernick stood up for what he believed in, and he was right to do so.

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