By: Kendall Shanks
Sports fans have criticized San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick for exercising his first amendment right to peacefully protest after Kaepernick refused to stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner” during preseason games.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media.
Kaepernick set out to bring attention to the Black Lives Matter movement and the police brutality that was responsible for the death of 24 unarmed African Americans in only the first six months of 2015, according to data collected by The Washington Post. Kaepernick has undeniably achieved his goal.
President Barack Obama came forward in support of Kaepernick. “I think he cares about some real, legitimate issues that have to be talked about,” President Obama said in a speech at a news conference in Hangzhou, China.
The backlash that Kaepernick has received for his protest was to be expected. “If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right,” Kaepernick said in an interview with NFL Media.
While Kaepernick has been dubbed unpatriotic and disrespectful by some, a group of veterans have taken to Twitter with #VeteransForKaepernick. Veteran and Food Network star Sunny Anderson stood in solidarity with Kaepernick.
Many of Kaepernick’s supporters are still dissatisfied with the results of the protest. The systematic and institutionalized racism in the United States is “what’s really un-American here,” said NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in an interview with The Washington Post.
Kaepernick’s right to peacefully protest and speak against racial injustice is enumerated in the Constitution. While some people may believe Kaepernick’s actions are disrespectful, the argument that his actions are unconstitutional is simply false. The president, veterans and football fans alike refuse to step down in the face of opposition.