Kaepernick exercising his right

Published 8:56 pm Monday, September 12, 2016

It’s the morning of Aug. 27. I’m lying on my back, scrolling through my Twitter feed trying to wake myself up before work and I spot a unique story:

“Colin Kaepernick Sits During National Anthem.”

As I scanned through the story, I couldn’t believe it. This was unprecedented, especially in my lifetime. I immediately scoffed and pondered, “Why is he acting out all of a sudden?” and “Who does he think he is?”

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That evening, I tuned in to the ESPN channel and the Kaepernick headline was plastered on virtually all of the network’s programs. The anchors engaged in heated, polarizing debates about race, nationalism and patriotism.

As I listened to the exchanges and the opinions of those on social media, I started to sympathize with Kaepernick.

Kaepernick was simply exercising one of his First Amendment freedoms — the freedom of speech. He had every right to do what he did.

However, the way he did it challenged the status quo. This parodies with the fact this country has a soft heart for our veterans and active servicemen and women, and rightfully so. So, what Kaepernick did was bound to ruffle some feathers.

But at the end of the day, why do the armed forces fight? To protect this country AND our rights.

What did Kaepernick do? He exercised a right.

So, while the method he chose was abrasive and unorthodox, there was legally nothing wrong with what he did. Several current and retired servicemen and women have vocally supported Kaepernick’s actions.

However, what is wrong is how the public has responded on both sides of the spectrum, particularly on social media.

A few of Kaepernick’s family portraits have surfaced on Twitter since his demonstration. The photos show five Caucasians and a bronze-hued Kaepernick — he was adopted.

Some of the captions I’ve seen attached to these photos have made my blood boil.

One tweet read:

“Colin Kaepernick was abandoned by a black family. Raised by a white family. Now #BlackLivesMatter. Childhood trauma?”


In the same vein, there were other comments claiming Kaepernick can’t truly sympathize with African-Americans because he was raised in a white family.

You can’t make this stuff up.

It’s been a little over three weeks since Kaepernick’s original incident, and he has already inspired conversations and others to take a “stand” with him.

Hundreds of professional, college and high school football players have taken a knee during the national anthem during their respective games.

But, some of these demonstrations have been met with sporadic acts of racism around the nation.

In a tweet posted by activist Shaun King, there was a news story from Cleveland 19 News stating a black student who had taken a knee was called a n— by some of his white teammates.

I’ll close with this.

It was recently brought to my attention there were once two additional stanzas to The Star Spangled Banner. The stanza following the end of the current national anthem had blatant racist language.

It reads:

“No refuge could save the hireling and slave,

From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave.”

Here’s the kicker.

Francis Scott Key, the author of The Star Spangled Banner, not only owned slaves but also was “an early and ardent opponent of slave trafficking,” according to a Baltimore Sun article.

You can’t make this stuff up.

Just think for a second: if Civil Rights activists didn’t challenge the status quo, where would we be today as a nation?

Now, apply this same inquiry to Kaepernick’s situation.

Kaepernick has challenged the status quo. He has started a discussion. He is beginning a movement.

Now, we just want one more thing from him — to win more games than he did last year.