Kaepernick sits during national anthem


Photo by Will Amos

American flags wave in front of national monuments. Our school should take more opportunities to go on field trips to learn more about our history.

Brady McGee, Reporter

Disrespect. That’s the only word that comes to mind when I think of 49ers’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick. And there’s a simple reason for that.

The Star-Spangled Banner, along with the American flag, has symbolized freedom since it was penned by Francis Scott Key during the Battle of Baltimore at Fort McHenry in 1814. Baltimore also happens to be home to the Ravens, who beat Kaepernick in Super Bowl XLVII. Just saying.

Key sat in a British ship as a prisoner when he saw the American flag still waving and reported it to his fellow prisoners. He was so inspired that, once back in Baltimore, he sat down to write a poem about the “rockets’ red glare,” and you know the rest.

In an SB Nation article from September, Kaepernick was quoted saying that the anthem along with the flag “doesn’t represent what it’s supposed to represent.

Until he feels like it does, Kaepernick has pledged not to stand during the national anthem at all this year. It won’t be much of a change for him though, as he lost his starting job and will be sitting on the bench all year as it is.

On the other side of the spectrum, a well-known figure in American history was an advocate for the Star-Spangled Banner and played it for his grandchildren. His name is Fredrick Douglass, a former slave.

Douglass realized that the only way to end racism was to embrace American traditions and not to reject them. He encouraged former slaves to sign up and fight for the Union. If a former slave can understand what the flag and anthem means, a NFL player who makes millions of dollars should be able to.

Disrespect towards the flag and national anthem doesn’t stop at Kaepernick, though. On the NFL’s opening day, also the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, numerous players joined Kaepernick in his protests.

Before the Seattle Seahawks took on the Miami Dolphins, four Dolphins players, including four-time Pro Bowler Arian Foster, took a knee during the nation anthem. On the opposite end of the field, the Seahawks players locked arms in a show of unity.

It seems Kaepernick and now other players are taking advantage of the NFL and the publicity they get from playing in front of millions every Sunday. Would anyone care if Kaepernick was just some random guy in the stadium who didn’t want to stand during the national anthem? Probably not.

However, people do care because he’s a professional athlete that is idolized by many (or at least he was back in 2012 when he was any good). If his opinion doesn’t fit with some of his fans, they become triggered.

If you’re not a fan of Kaepernick, such as myself, then his decision makes you like him even less. It’s clear he is bitter about losing the spotlight and wanted to do something to put his name back in the news.

I understand Kaepernick feels the flag and anthem don’t represent what he interprets them to represent, but there’s a time and place to express your opinion. The football field is not one of them.

If Kaepernick really wants to make a change in this country maybe he should quit football and become a civil rights activist, or maybe he could donate some money to charity.

Whatever he does, let him take a knee during the national anthem. The country he disagrees with so much did give him that freedom after all.