Colin Kaepernick: Barack Obama Speaks Out On National Anthem Controversy
Colin Kaepernick’s decision to not stand during the pre-game national anthem has created discussion and anger among Americans. Some are defending his freedom of expression, while others are calling for him to leave the country.
This morning, Barack Obama expressed his opinion on the matter. While supporting Kaepernick’s right to express his opinion and stating that he is glad Colin decided to become involved in a problem that is important to him, Obama also acknowledged that the anger his actions have drawn may keep some from hearing Kaepernick’s message.
“As a general matter, when it comes to the flag, and the National Anthem and the meaning that that holds for our men and women in uniform and those that fought for us – that is a tough thing for them to get past, to then hear what his deeper concerns are.”
NFL.com reports that the basis for Colin’s refusal to rise to his feet during the playing of the national anthem before football games is his concern about the current relationship between police officers and people in the African-American community.
“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.”
It’s a topic that Barack Obama has had to deal with delicately, needing to acknowledge perceived injustices while not encouraging violence or saying anything that contributes to an “all police are bad” image.
Because of the anger Colin Kaepernick’s actions have stirred up and the difficulty it may cause in his conveying his intended message, Fox News reports that the president called his protest messy. He also, however, stated that democracy is difficult and often messy, “that’s the way democracy works.”
The 49ers have indicated that they recognize Kaepernick’s right to not stand during the playing of the national anthem, a tradition they called “a special part of the pre-game ceremony. It is an opportunity to honor our country and reflect on the great liberties we are afforded as its citizens.” Colin’s coach, Chip Kelly, also defended his actions, saying it’s “his right as a citizen.”
The 49ers quarterback did not speak to his coach about his decision prior to the first time he didn’t stand during the national anthem. Kaepernick feels obligated to be a voice for those he believes are being oppressed and is willing to pay whatever price that costs him.
Barack Obama acknowledged that he believes Colin Kaepernick’s concerns are real and that his protest has already accomplished something positive.
” I don’t doubt his sincerity. I think he cares about some real, legitimate issues that need to be talked about and, if nothing else, what he’s done is generated more conversation about some topics that need to be talked about.”
Among those condemning Kaepernick’s decision to come to his feet during the national anthem are presidential candidate Donald Trump and Fox News.
Trump is calling for him to leave the country. The Telegraph quotes him as saying the following.
“I think it’s a terrible thing, and you know, maybe he should find a country that works better for him. Let him try. It won’t happen.”
Fox News’ Mike Huckabee agrees with this suggestion, saying, “I think we outta take a certain NFL quarterback, ask him where he’d like to go, and send him there…”
Former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward has taken a stance that is closer to that of Barack Obama, posting this on Instagram.
Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice echoed a similar sentiment in a Twitter post.
Barack Obama also expressed in his comments about Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand during the national anthem that his willingness to get involved and have an informed opinion is a good thing.
“I’d rather have young people engaged in the argument and trying to think through how they can be part of our democratic process than those who are just sitting on the sidelines.”
[Photo by Harry How/Getty Images]