OPINION: Taking a knee in protest, not disrespect

By Julio Sanchez

Colin Kaepernick taking a knee during the national anthem is in no way disrespectful to the American flag, the troops in the army, or America itself.

Kaepernick protested to bring awareness about inequality, police brutality, and racial injustice while using the national anthem as a pedestal for his movement.

Kaepernick began his protest by sitting on the bench during the national anthem in August 2016.

Later, Kaepernick shifted his method to kneeling after his teammate at the time, and retired Green Beret Nate Boyer, advised him to kneel on one knee to show respect for fallen brothers and sisters in the same way troops do.

It didn’t take long before Kaepernick was quickly criticized for his actions by the media and National Football League after expressing his views on how people of color are being mistreated, beaten, and murdered.

Kaepernick was immediately deemed an anti-patriotic radical who has no respect for the country or the people defending it.

Also, no NFL team is willing to sign Kaepernick, which means that the NFL is willing to hire actual criminals instead of someone that demands basic human rights for everybody.

Although Kaepernick doesn’t currently play for a team in the NFL, his message has made such an impact on the game that fellow players are now following in his footsteps and continue to protest in his absence.

The protest has made such an impact in not only the game, but in the world.

It even got the president of the United States, Donald Trump, upset and bothered.

President Trump has made it clear that he does not approve of the protest and  has suggested NFL owners fire or suspend players that do not stand for the national anthem.

Donald Trump said: “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say ‘get that son-of-a bitch off the field right now. He’s fired.’”

Donald Trump shamelessly and proudly disrespected players who are peacefully protesting for something that they believe in in a way that he would not dare to disrespect the Nazis and so-called “fine people” of the Charlottesville, Virginia protest.

It is fair to say that like the president of the United States, many individuals lack the proper knowledge required to see that taking a knee during the national anthem is not an act of disrespect to the country.

If players and activists wanted to disrespect the nation, they would incite hatred and violence, like the Nazis did in Charlottesville.

Or they can go around shooting and beating unarmed civilians, just like the police constantly do.

Maybe if activists really hated America and wanted to express it, they would simply mock POWs or question the morality of the entire nation like President Trump. But they don’t.

Colin Kaepernick has shaken up the pre-game of football in a way that many did not think possible.

His actions and efforts to make a large population aware of how unjust and unfair this country treats its own has sparked a flame in those who have the same vision.

From players, to cheerleaders, to NFL owners, taking a knee is a symbol of support to those who are wrongfully treated and killed.

The issues with racism and injustices in America that made Colin Kaepernick start protesting are still happening, but at least now they are being discussed.

It’s 2017. We should be focused on helping those affected by hurricanes and earthquakes instead of focused on advocating for basic human rights like we’re stuck in the 1960s.

People are fed up with the way things are going and now they’re making a change, one knee at a time.

In order to take a stand, now we must take a knee.

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