Was Colin Kaepernick Wrong For Not Standing During The National Anthem?

Colin Kaepernick created a stir when he chose to not stand for the national anthem, according to NFL.com. Kaepernick’s actions took place during a preseason game between the San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers. The 49ers would go on to lose 21-10, but instead of the loss, the focus was placed on Kaepernick’s boycott of the national anthem.

Was Colin Kaepernick wrong for not standing for the national anthem?

Judging from Kaepernick’s own words, the quarterback was standing up for what he believes in by sitting down. Kaepernick had to get our attention somehow. His attempts on Twitter failed to resonate with us.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

What Colin Kaepernick is referring to is the recent shooting deaths of minorities by the hands of police officers. And it is not just the shooting that disturbs Kaepernick, but the fact that the officers responsible for the shooting deaths have gotten off with little to no penalty paid.

By choosing not to stand for the national anthem it should be mentioned that Colin Kaepernick was exercising his civic rights, not disrespecting his country.

Colin Kaepernick
[Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images]

Is it a right to stand for the national anthem, or a demand?

Is it a privilege to be an American, or is it painful?

These are the questions that we should be asking ourselves. It is our civic duty to attempt to understand the message before slaughtering the messenger. And in this case the messenger is of black lineage, who if were not an NFL quarterback, he could possibly be on the receiving end of what minorities deal with daily.

Poverty, lack of employment, gang violence, police harassment — Colin Kaepernick knows that if he did not throw a football for a living he could be living this life. As a black man in America, Kaepernick understands that he was one blown opportunity away from being where most black youth are. He wanted to take a stand by sitting out the national anthem.

Again, was Colin Kaepernick wrong for doing so?

Most people will say that he showed the ultimate sign of disrespect. Including his former 49ers’ teammate, Alex Boone. As reported by ESPN, Boone had a few choice words for Kaepernick.

“You should have some f—ing respect for people who served, especially people that lost their life to protect our freedom. We’re out here playing a game, making millions of dollars. People are losing their life, and you don’t have the common courtesy to do that. That just drove me nuts.”

Alex Boone was right on the surface, Colin Kaepernick should have respect for the men and women who have lost their lives in the name of freedom. Boone is also assisting Kaepernick at proving his point.

There are people fighting in the name of freedom who do not serve in the armed forces. These are civilians who work and make a living in search of realizing their dreams someday. Where does the respect come from for them?

Are the victims of police violence and violence against each other deserving of respect?

Colin Kaepernick
[Photo by Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images]

This is not aimed at the members of the armed forces, they deserve our utmost respect. But there are additional ways for us to show, not just the national anthem.

There are homeless veterans who go virtually ignored by the same people who have ripped Colin Kaepernick. Some of who do not stand for the national anthem themselves, let alone back away from the hot dog and beer stand when the national anthem begins. We cannot be critical of Colin Kaepernick for doing what some of us do not do. We can disagree with Kaepernick, but can we call him patriotic?

How can Colin Kaepernick be considered unpatriotic for standing up for what he believes in? That is the American way. Taking a stand for freedom is what America is based on. Kaepernick has started a conversation that was quietly being had in several black households.

The true story behind the national anthem, according to The Root, does not shed a favorable light for black Americans. There are words excluded from the original song which glorifies slavery. That is a bitter pill to swallow for those who are aware of this.

Below are the excluded lyrics from the “Star-Spangled Banner.”

“And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a Country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
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.”

While those words have been omitted from the national anthem, this is how we salute our troops. This is what is supposed to make us proud, but how? How can we in good conscience be proud of the past, and what we are fast becoming? And why is it unpatriotic to question it?

Colin Kaepernick questioned this and his response was to not rise for the national anthem. In theory, what Kaepernick did was take a stand by sitting down. It is his civic right to choose, especially given the history of the anthem.

Was Colin Kaepernick wrong for not standing for the national anthem?

Was Kaepernick’s actions unpatriotic?

Ask yourself these questions when you are at a game and the national anthem comes on. If you are at the hot dog and beer stand when it begins, what will you do?

[Photo by Lachlin Cunningham/Getty Images]