By Edwin Contreras
When you would sit down on a Sunday night and watch a football game what normally grabbed your attention before the game was the singer’s standout performance of the national anthem. However, Colin Kaepernick showcased a controversial performance of his own before the game had even started.
It was on August 26, 2016 and Kaepernick’s San Francisco 49ers were playing against the Green Bay Packers. All eyes were on the flag as the spectators in the stadium put their hands over their hearts. All 70,178 spectators in the stadium were standing up including the players and staff, that is, all but “Lucky Number 7”, Colin Kaepernick.
At that time no one noticed until football blogger Jennifer Lee Chan tweeted a photo of him in the foreground sitting. The image began circulating throughout social media and people were either bashing or supporting him. Every person who did not agree with Colin Kaepernick sitting was quick to say that he was disrespecting our military.
However, later on veterans started a hashtag on Twitter called, #VeteransForKaepernick, which was the number one trending topic with thousands of tweets.
After the game, Kaepernick told NFL Media why he chose to not stand during the national anthem, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color”. He then furthered his position. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
After his protests, Kaepernick is now getting called selfish and ignorant. Although the reality is not everyone experiences the same freedom in America. Unfortunately a black man and white man in America do not experience the same freedom. A white man does not understand what a black man goes through and a black man does not understand what a white man goes through. Colin Kaepernick simply wants change and wants everyone to understand what his protest means.
Since then, Kaepernick has now transitioned his protest from sitting down to kneeling. NFL players across the country have joined in and voiced their support for Kaepernick. Since his protest began, 71 people have been shot and killed at the hands of a police officer. Of the 71 people about 22% percent were black. The victims were brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, and neighbors. This is why Colin Kaepernick kneels. In his words, “ this is bigger than football.”