By Scotlyn McConnell
This preseason, Colin Kaepernick who quarterbacks for the San Francisco 49ers, decided to kneel during the national anthem. While Kaepernick’s original reason for taking a knee was that he was not going to show support for a country that treats the black community so poorly, the movement has spread.
All around the country, professional, college and high school athletes have started to kneel or sit during the “Star Spangled Banner.” These actions of peaceful protest have put the country into a fit. Left and right, there are different opinions; everyone has something to say. Including me.
I believe that instead of condemning him, we should be commending him.
Kaepernick, and the other athletes, are standing up (or sitting down) for what they believe in. People are saying that he should be arrested for this, for disrespecting his country. However, our country gives him the right to do this. Freedom of speech and the right to peaceful protest protect these people. You can’t have these things and just decide to get rid of them when someone does something you don’t like.
Others say that he signed up for this job and he knew what he knew what he would have to do, but nowhere in a football contract does it say “must take part in national anthem.” Just because he is being paid millions of dollars doesn’t mean that he’s given up his rights. Colin Kaepernick is still a person.
In Kaepernick’s contract it does say that you need to represent the team well. I think he’s doing this. By standing up for his beliefs in a peaceful way on a platform that millions and millions of people will see, he shows us that we can stand up, too. He’s teaching kids that you don’t need to be violent to get your point across.
I don’t think it matters whether or not you agree with what he’s doing. He’s still allowed to do it. In the end, he’s just a person, an American with rights. No amount of money or fame is going to change that. He and others are getting punished or threatened and you might think that’s proper action, but I don’t think so.
I think that all of the people who are doing this are brave for standing up to our country and it’s injustices. America gives them the right to stand up against America, and I think that’s beautiful.