Colin Kaepernick: Remain yourself

Marissa Marshall,
Staff Writer

Another day has passed, totaling 165 since quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been an NFL free agent.

On top of that, the Baltimore Ravens just signed former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Thad Lewis, whose last football impression was being placed on the 49ers’ injured reserved list at the end of last season. Before signing Lewis, the Ravens seemed to be a potential destination for Kaepernick.

Despite Kaepernick opting out of his contract with the 49ers on March 3, 2016, it is heartbreaking that other teams will not give him the time of day. While no team has come out and said it, it is most likely because he knelt during the national anthem and spoke about social issues like the “Black Lives Matter” movement.

In an NFL press conference in August 2016, Kaepernick stated, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag or a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”

It was a powerful statement that the former 49ers quarterback, who sports his hair in an afro, has stood by to this day. Kaepernick took a stand and supported all individuals of color, specifically black individuals, who have been oppressed since the days of slavery.

He should not be punished for kneeling to a flag and anthem that he feels does not represent him. It is not an obligation to stand for the flag, nor is it an obligation to respect it, whether you are an American or not.

Americans shouldn’t be surprised at minorities not getting support for fighting for equality. On Saturday, a white nationalist rally took place in Charlottesville, Virginia. White individuals were allowed to stand up for their racist beliefs, but when individuals of color do it, it’s a problem.

There are NFL players who have committed far worse offenses who are still in the NFL, but once an individual stands up for something related to race he’s shunned and denied opportunities.

Racism continues to spew out of American citizens and that’s no different in the NFL. Just because the NFL is a prominent industry where, according to VICE Sports, 70 percent of the players in the league are Black men, doesn’t mean they have the final say on things. Kaepernick, who is half Black, believes there should be change, which is why he risked his career for it.

What Kaepernick has done, kneeling during the national anthem, is not wrong, nor should he be rejected because he stood up for something he believes in; something many other Americans believe in as well.

It’s a shame that Kaepernick’s actions have caused this much uproar, not only in the media, but in the United States as a whole and allegedly prevented him an opportunity to proceed in his profession.

There is no reason why former Chicago Bears retired quarterback Jay Cutler was signed by the Miami Dolphins over Kaepernick when Miami lost starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill to an injury last week. Despite great statistics for a starting NFL quarterback, Cutler was known for a notoriously bad attitude, injuries and a lack of success in the postseason and he never made it to a Super Bowl.

If I were Kaepernick, I wouldn’t even want to engage in NFL activity anymore. An organization that doesn’t support his rights is an entity that doesn’t deserve him. Kaepernick should continue to stick to his positive values and stand up for what he believes in. Individuals of color have been told way too many times that they can’t do something, and the former 49er shouldn’t be another one.

He should continue to make a statement, remain himself, and show us what this country’s morals truly are.