Colin Kaepernick takes a knee

DYLAN FOREMAN; Sports Editor; foremadf@plu.edu

When Dwayne Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and LeBron James stood on the grand stage at the Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Awards (ESPYs) this past year to remind athletes that they are role models and have the ability to affect change, Colin Kaepernick must have taken the message to heart.

Former starting and current backup quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers, Colin Kaepernick, enraged football fans and fans of the American flag when he protested the racial tension between police and people of color during the national anthem in a pre-season matchup. Kaepernick took a knee instead of standing during the singing of the national anthem, typically a time of appreciation for the country and the military.

From my own perspective, I have no problem with his doing it. Any citizen of the United States has the right to protest racial issues in our country and say what they want about it without fear of reprimand or persecution. Nevertheless, Kaepernick’s actions have not helped to do more than spark rage and controversy throughout the country.

Many people have their own opinion on whether Kaepernick is in the wrong. My question to the public is: do you hate that he took a knee during the national anthem or do you just hate Kaepernick?

For people who don’t know, Kaepernick was once an elite quarterback in the National Football League. With a Super Bowl appearance in 2012 against the Baltimore Ravens and the title as of the face of the franchise, Kaepernick became one of the most prolific and exciting players to watch during that time. However, his antics on and off the field made him one of the more unlikable players.

His “patented” bicep kiss end zone celebration made me despise him. Also, his role as a rival of the Seahawks and the way he flaunted his lavish lifestyle on social media added to my disdain for him.

“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.”

COLIN KAEPERNICK IN AN PRESS CONFERENCE WITH NFL MEDIA AUGUST 26, 2016

Maybe that is why people hate him. Maybe kneeling just reignited the flame that was already inside myself and others who had a dislike for him in the past. Since he has started to kneel during our nation’s anthem, some athletes like U.S. women’s soccer player Megan Rapinoe and other football players have followed his lead and people don’t seem to care as much that they are doing it. A prime example of the scope of influence has been seen locally this past Sunday during the Seahawks home game against the Miami Dolphins. The Seahawks joined arms in protesting for the same cause.

The overwhelming hatred of Colin Kaepernick has made whatever he does in the future into a negative venture. No matter what he does from here on out, Kaepernick’s past antics will always cast a shadow on whatever he decides to do because that’s how he is widely viewed by people.

I’m sure Kaepernick has nothing but the best intentions for his protest against racial inequality in America. Maybe he learned something during the ESPYs — professional athletes have the ability to effect change in a way that very few people can. But at the end of the day, Colin Kaepernick’s reputation will always precede him and his actions, even if has nothing but the best in mind. 🅼

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