Kaepernick Taking a Stand


Colin Kaepernick (right) kneeling next to his teammate, Eric Reid (left).

Melanie Battle, Staff Writer

Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Keith Scott, Terence Crutcher, Korryn Gaines. The list goes on and on. 194. 194 is how many Black Americans have been murdered by police in 2016 alone. This is the reason why 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick is deciding not to stand for the national anthem. America is supposed to be the land of the free, but is it really free for everyone?

For those who are unaware, the “Star-Spangled Banner” is a song that extends beyond one verse. There are actually four. What seems to catch many peoples’ eyes is the second half of the third verse:

“No refuge could save the hireling and slave

From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:

And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave,

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

This verse was written to explain the satisfaction that Francis Scott Key felt in the deaths of slaves that had freed themselves by joining the British in the War of 1812. Then he says that the star-spangled banner will wave in triumph over the “land of the free.” If anyone is enslaved in a country is everyone free?

Colin Kaepernick sat down during the playing of the national anthem because the song is a celebration of a self-proclaimed “free country.” When he was asked why he refused to stand, Kaepernick responded by saying, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

Police brutality has become a more and more prominent problem in America, and Kaepernick is trying to bring more awareness to the situation. In his peaceful protests, many fans, celebrities and other NFL players have blasted him by spewing hateful speech and burning his jersey. Many other athletes from the little league, high school, college and professional levels have taken after Kaepernick and began to kneel during the playing of the “Star-Spangled Banner.”

When asked about what Colin Kaepernick is doing, sophomore Millie Berry said, “I think that what he’s doing is very disrespectful to the flag and the country. He shouldn’t sit during the anthem because it doesn’t really do anything, it doesn’t make a difference. I do think that it’s wild that he’s receiving death threats and people are burning his jersey. It really isn’t anyone’s business what he does.”

Senior, Amani Jackson had different thoughts, “My thoughts on this controversy is that standing or sitting for the pledge shouldn’t be a problem. For the people saying it disrespects veterans, they are not right because some veterans support Colin. In the “Star-Spangled Banner” written by Francis Scott Key, who was a slave owner, an original verse that was removed talked about slaves. So, for people to get upset over a man peacefully sitting than over young people of color being killed by cops is wrong. Think about it.”

Colin Kaepernick, a record breaking quarterback in the NFL, who has led his team to the Superbowl, is using his platform to bring consciousness to an outstanding problem in America. “I’ll continue to sit. I’m going to continue to stand with the people that are being oppressed. To me, this is something that has to change, and when there’s significant change- and I feel like that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent, and this country is representing people the way it’s supposed to- I’ll stand.”