Colin Kaepernick justifies his recent decision to sit during the playing of the National Anthem with the comment that,
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color.”
This demonstration of protest has been met with completely polarizing stands of approval and disapproval from football fans and non-football fans alike. Many observers completely disagree with Kaepernick’s method of protest feeling that it in some way this protest dishonors those who have fought to protect the flag and what they understand the U.S. flag stands for. Others who strongly support Kaepernick’s protest argue that his actions are bringing attention to a subject that warrants attention and discussion.
Is Kaepernick sending the right message in the wrong envelope? Many may feel that veterans and current U.S. service members alike have fought for the rights of U.S. citizens to voice their opinion in any non-violent manner they choose. Isn’t that what Freedom is?
The first amendment to the U.S. constitution, ratified in 1791 is built around the subject:
Prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.
So the constitution prohibits the creation of a law interfering with the right to peaceably assemble, which makes Kaepernicks’s actions fall completely within his Constitutional rights, but does it send the wrong message by the manner in which he has chosen to protest?
He is protesting a government and a system that has allowed him to;
- Be given up for adoption
- Be adopted by a caring family
- Practice religion as he wishes and tattoo remarks from that religion all over his body and display them publicly
- Attend publicly funded schools
- Participate in his sports of choice
- Receive a collegiate scholarship to pay for his higher education
- Earn a position to be drafted by the National Football League
- Sign a 6 year, $114,000,000 contract with the San Francisco 49ers, including a $12,328,766 signing bonus, $61,000,000 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $19,000,000.
Service members and veterans have all taken an oath to uphold the constitution of the United States of America. Does Kaepernick dishonor their sacrifices by exercising a right that those service members and veterans took an oath to protect?
What do you think?
You are FREE to sit on the sidelines or join the conversation below.