In Response to Colin Kaepernick


Chris Diver, News Editor

On August 26th, during a football game between the Green Bay Packers and the San Francisco 49ers, 49ers backup quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, made headlines when he refused to stand during the National Anthem. After the game, Kaepernick’s actions became a topic of debate with some finding his actions to be disrespectful to America while others defended his right to protest.

Before I get started I want to make one thing clear: Kaepernick not standing for the National Anthem is in fact an expression of free speech. It may have been disrespectful to some, but part of what makes America great is that even though it was disrespectful, Kaepernick has every right as an American to opt-out of the National Anthem. The NFL does not officially have a rule against players sitting during the Anthem; meaning, not only was he not in violation of any law, he was also not in violation of the NFL’s rules. However, Kaepernick’s actions were nothing more than a publicity stunt full of empty activism and did not do anything for the cause.

Kaepernick said that he refused to stand to protest the treatment of African Americans in America. Yet Kaepernick, despite having a nearly $114 million contract with San Francisco, has not donated any of his yearly earnings to trying to fight poverty or trying to end black-on-black violence. Kaepernick decided to sit down during the Anthem instead of actually going out and doing something about the problem he was trying to address. Having celebrity status the way Kaepernick does, means that he could use his status to be influential in trying to truly fix a social problem.

Dr. Dre saw problems with his home city of Compton. When he became successful,  he actually spent time and money to improve the city in ways that he could. He was active in trying to cut down on violence in Compton, and tried to help young African Americans get out of poverty. And as a result of Dr. Dre actually doing something about the problem, Compton today is completely different from the way it was in the late 80’s and early 90’s. If someone like Kaepernick actually put money and time into trying to stop police brutality or black-on-black violence, then his refusal to stand for the National Anthem would be more than just empty activism.

While Kaepernick’s statements and protests are probably the most famous action, this whole idea of just making a statement about an issue and not doing anything about it is nothing new. Whenever there is a big tragedy or big event that creates a problem, instead of actually doing something about it, most of the population would rather just make a hashtag or a Facebook post about it instead of actually going out and getting things changed. While social media has gotten things changed in the past, for the most part it takes more than a hashtag to actually deal with problems. If people who made social media statements about issues actually went out and worked to fix them, then a lot more problems in this country could be solved.

Another thing about Kaepernick’s protests, is that after the July shooting in Dallas, in which 5 police officers were killed, the Dallas Cowboys wanted to add a decal honoring the five Dallas police officers to their helmets during the season. However, the NFL did not approve of Dallas having the logo on their helmets. Therefore by not allowing the Cowboys to honor the police for their sacrifices, it shows a double standard by allowing Kaepernick to continue his actions in protest against police brutality. Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the national anthem has caused a lot of headlines and has had people from both sides arguing about his actions.