One Man Left Sitting

One+Man+Left+Sitting

Lily Tollison, Editor in Chief

Colin Kaepernick, 49ers quarterback, has sparked controversy after he deliberately did not stand for the national anthem, which is done prior to sports games. After being booed and criticized for his decision, the football player let his voice be heard. He claimed he did not stand during the national anthem because he is trying to spotlight the topic of racial inequality and police brutality, according to usatoday.com. Some saw this as a heroic opportunity to speak up about social injustice, while others felt it was disrespectful and were disappointed in his choice.

“I feel that [kneeling during the national anthem] is disrespectful to those who have given their lives for the flag,” senior Michael Dubowski said. “At the same time he has the right to do so because of the freedom of [speech] we are given in this country.”

Many football fans were outraged and upset by Kaepernick’s actions, some have even called him anti-American and anti-military.

“I realize that men and women of the military go out and sacrifice their lives and put themselves in harm’s way for my freedom of speech and my freedoms in this country and my freedom to take a seat or take a knee so I have the utmost respect for them.” Kaepernick said      after a game on September 1, 2016, according to usatoday.com.

While he defends himself by stating that he is not anti-American, in fact he claims he loves America. Kaepernick still maintains his beliefs that there is injustice in this country towards people of color. He also offered to donate one million dollars to organizations specifically related to his cause.

According to nfl.com, in terms of legality, it is Kaepernick’s right to chose to sit or stand for the national anthem. The NFL released a statement saying football players are not required to stand for the national anthem, they are however strongly encouraged to.

“It’s his right as a citizen,” 49ers coach Chip Kelly said at a press conference on August 24, 2016, “It’s not my right to tell him not to do something.”

Howbeit, not everyone is cheering on the football star, some are outraged at his actions. The commissioner for the NFL Roger Goodell spoke out in disagreement with what the quarterback is choosing to do. He does, however, recognize Kaepernick’s right to peacefully protest.

“Kneeling during the National Anthem is not the most respectful way to [protest],” Dubowski said, “But it’s creating a discussion about change that America has not seen yet.”

Despite a lot of backlash, there are some football fans who perceive the quarterback as a hero. Though he is not the first professional athlete to petition a certain issue and sit during the national anthem, professional athletes such as Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and LeBron James have also taken a seat when it comes to the patriotism, according to nfl.com. President Barack Obama even spoke up on the matter by saying the athlete was exercising his constitutional right.

According to nfl.com, “I am not looking for approval,” Kaepernick said, “If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know what I have stood up for is right.