Colin Kaepernick: An American Hero or Glorified Distraction?

By: Wallace Zicke

First year Music Composition major

Many would agree that the Colin Kaepernick issue boils down to more than a man blatantly disrespecting his country. He has valid motives, and he has made those motives clear.

He is protesting the racial stigma he feels as a black man in America today. Although racism has declined at a social and systemic level throughout the years, there are still problematic issues in this country.

In many states, an African American  man is eight times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession. This, along with the fact that police killings still affect people of color the most, is a clear indication that our police have a racial bias.

The wealth gap has disproportionately harmed the black community as well. The rich are getting richer; the poor are getting poorer. Tax breaks to the 1% and corporate America are becoming more and more common, especially under the Trump regime. The wealth is not going to trickle down anytime soon.

Kaepernick has valid reasons to protest. The amount of threats and racial-based backlash he has received is incredibly unreasonable. There are many reasons not to proudly sing a national anthem written by a man who was pro-slavery.

Kaepernick is an African American citizen with a right to free speech, living under a fascist and prejudiced president. Why shouldn’t he protest?

There have been many opinions thrown around about the old San Francisco 49er’s quarterback, Colin Kaepernick. In 2016, Kaepernick kneeled during the national anthem instead of standing to protest against racial injustice, and it created complete chaos throughout the United States.

Many chose sides as to whether or not he has the right to stand up for what he believes or if he shouldn’t have kneeled. Personally, I see both sides, but I could argue what he did was out of line and very inappropriate.

I understand this country has many problems and has a lot of problems concerning racial injustice, but it could be dealt with in various different ways. Becoming a professional athlete comes with certain responsibilities, and one of them is to be a role model to people of all ages. I’m not saying people in the spotlight can’t have a say or they don’t have the right to stand up for what they believe in, but they should be more careful in the way they act. Kids will see the way he acted and think it’s okay to act like that as well, when it is not.

There is a time and place to protest, but during the national anthem, we should stand. If you don’t like this country, no one is forcing you to stay.  

Professional athletes, as we all know, get paid a crazy amount of money every year to play their sport. Athletes who get paid millions of dollars a year should not be acting out in such a public manner.

I understand racism is unfortunately still present in this country, but there are better ways than to publicly kneel during our country’s anthem to solve this issue.


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