Would You Take A Knee During The National Anthem?

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San Francisco 49ers backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick has started a movement.  And his followers are growing.

It seems like everybody is doing it. Taking a knee during the National Anthem, that is. It’s a protest vote started by Colin Kaepernick. He made national headlines recently, not for his play on the gridiron, but for taking a knee during the national anthem as a way of protesting racial injustices and police brutality in the country.

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A number of players on other National Football League teams have joined Kaepernick and also taken a knee during the anthem; while others have raised clenched fists while standing, including New England Patriots Martellus Bennett and Devin McCourty, as another way to silently protest.

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And protesting during professional football games has trickled all the way down into the high-school ranks, as Doherty Memorial High School junior Mike Oppong took a knee during the national anthem Friday in a season-opening game against Leominster at Commerce Bank Field at Foley Stadium in Worcester.

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On Sunday, Oppong tweeted to his followers on Twitter that “My coach just called me a couple minutes ago telling me that the coaches and principals decided that I should be suspended for 1 game.”

Oppong’s Twitter handle is @Oppong_5 with the name on the account “BLACK LIVES MATTER.”

He even got a retweet from Kaepernick’s own Twitter account.

A #FreeOppong hashtag started spreading like wildfire on Twitter after Oppong announced he would be suspended for his protest. There was positive feedback and support for Oppong on social media and some hate, however.”

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And here’s what Leonard Pitts Jr. of the Detroit Free Press Printed:

“It keeps getting bigger.

One might have expected last month’s protest by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, his refusal to stand for the national anthem, to have blown over by now. Instead, it has caught fire. Sunday, members of the Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs all staged protests of their own. This was in addition to earlier protests by soccer star Megan Rapinoe and members of the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks. There have even been reports of the phenomenon spreading to high school and college games.

All of this in support of Kaepernick, who said, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” Apparently, he’s struck a nerve.

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For the record, yes, I do stand when the anthem is played. But I don’t do it for America. America breaks my heart on a daily basis. So, I stand for what America is supposed to be, what America could be if it ever took seriously its founding principles, including that “self-evident” truth about equality. But America has yet to do that, and Kaepernick is hardly the first person to notice.

Drew Sharp said this:

Un-American? Colin Kaepernick is anything but that.”

And  Colin Kaepernick said this:

I don’t want to kneel forever.”


On the last night of his life, Martin Luther King said:

All we say to America is, be true to what you said on paper.”

Kaepernick is not even the first athlete to snub the rituals of American patriotism and refuse to “stand” for the National Anthem. This is what one baseball player had to say:

I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag; I know that I am a black man in a white world.”

 The baseball player’s name was Jackie Robinson.

Colin Kaepernick Has The Best-Selling Jersey In The NFL?

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So what do you think of Colin Kaepernick? I’ll tell you what kids and millennials and anti-establishment types everywhere think – they love him! Colin Kaepernick’s 49ers jerseys are reportedly flying off the shelves, so it looks like a lot of people have Kap’s back.

Colin Kaepernick might not be the San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback, but he’s leading the league in one stat — jersey sales. Since Kaepernick made headlines in late August by refusing to stand for the National Anthem, his jersey ranks as one of the best sellers in the NFL.

The latest stats on NFL jersey sales have Kaepernick’s jersey listed as the top seller on the NFL Shop’s website, ahead of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz and Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott. Wow.

So what do you think? Kaepernick has taken a stand by not standing up. He will not stand idly by and he will not stand for the continued abuse of power by a select number of police officers across the country. And that is the issue. Yes young black men are being disproportionally targeted, but at the end of the day, it’s the abuse of power that we all should be concerned about.   

Not standing for the National Anthem is the 2016 version of burning the American Flag, sort of. Students in the ‘60’s who  protested the Vietnam War, I mean the Vietnam “Conflict,” burned the flag as symbol of their angst and anger over the U.S. involvement in a squabble half a world away. Over 50,000 young lives were lost, and many, many more were injured and maimed for life because of a decision by policy makers to partake in a lost cause.

So, we return to question on the floor: “Is Colin Kaepernick justified in his protest?”   

Even President Obama has weighed in, and had this to day:

My understanding, at least, is that is he’s exercising his constitutional right to make a statement. I think there’s a long history of sports figures doing so. As a general matter, when it comes to the flag the national anthem and the meaning that holds for our men and women in uniform and those who’ve fought for us — that is a tough thing for them to get past to then hear what his deeper concerns are,” he said. “But 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 doing has generated more conversation around some topics that need to be talked about” (CNN).

Now let’s call Colin in to defend his position and to speak for himself.  Here’s what Kaepernik told NFL.com’s Steve Wyche:

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.”

Wow. That’s a powerful statement. So, agree or disagree, if nothing else, we must acknowledge that Kaepernick is raising awareness. And I do applaud him for that.